Michigan State University

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Between Absence and Presence: The Arpilleras Movement in Chile

May 30 – November 30, 2019
Ground Floor Gallery

This exhibition highlights significant works of popular art in Chile, known as arpilleras, created during the dictatorship and post-dictatorship period.

The term arpillera (literally “burlap”), in many Latin American settings, refers to images created by stitching colorful fabric scraps onto a burlap backing. Arpilleras came to international attention during the violent period of military dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet. Created by mostly working class women, these works commemorate family members “disappeared” by the military and security forces, and depict the difficulties of everyday life under martial law. More recent arpilleras reflect upon Chile’s tumultuous history of repression and democracy, and envision a more hopeful future for the nation.

This important collection of arpilleras, dating from the early 1970s to the present, has been assembled by the poet, scholar, and activist Marjorie Agosin (Wellesley College) Dr. Agosin has worked closely for decades with women arpillera artists, helping document their stories and aid them in their continuing struggle for financial security.

The exhibition will run-in parallel to “The Edge of Things: Dissident Art under Repressive Regimes,” June 1, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (MSU Broad).

Ground Floor

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