February 2nd- April 1st
About the Exhibition
In Spanish, the phrase "hilos conductores" can mean two things: conductive threads and the main idea or theme of a story. Hilos Conductores explores the threads that connect life in Chile with Canada in uneven ways. These include copper mining, private water utilities and other extractive schemes, but also refuge, art and networks of transnational solidarity. To do this, this exhibition brings a sample of arpilleras (political textiles) created during the Chilean dictatorship together with the recent work of textile artists and collectives: Bélgica Castro, Soledad Muñoz, Tamara Marcos, Memorarte and Autorretazo. Spanning three countries and various decades, the presentation of these works seeks to honour generations of textile artists who have drawn on unsuspected materials, like thread, fabric and sewing needles, to denounce human rights violations, free-market economics and extractivism. Conceptualised during the 2019-2020 anti-establishment revolts in Chile and resulting constitutional referenda, Hilos Conductores highlights the power of political textiles to uncover complex geopolitical relations that stand in the way of social change and decolonial futures.
Given the uneven geographies that emerge from the state global political economy, transnational demonstrations of solidarity and hopes for transformative change require that we consider our own positionality within extractive schemes. They also require that we re-imagine North-South and human-nature relationships in more just and sustainable ways. It is by attending to these complexities that the thread of hope that runs throughout the works featured in this exhibition emerge.
Curated by Nathalia Santos Ocasio.
Co-presented by Textile Museum of Canada and Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queens University.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Belgica Castro Fuentes started embroidering arpilleras in Santiago, Chile in 1978 and was part of the Arpillera Workshop of the Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared.Her husband disappeared after being detained by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet on October 6, 1973. Castro Fuentes was exiled to Sweden in1986. She has developed an extensive body of work as an arts educator and arpillerista (arpillera-maker) in both Va?xjo? and Malmo?, where she has lived since 2005.
Soledad Fátima Muñoz is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker and researcher born in Canada and raised in Rancagua, Chile.Her work seeks to explore the ever-changing social spaces we inhabit and the archival properties of cloth. Through the investigation of the materiality of sound and the understanding of the woven structure as the continuation of our interconnected social gesture, her practice seeks to fabricate embodied instances that participate in the construction of a more equitable society and the creation of new archives of resistance. Her latest collaborative audiovisual project entitled “La Parte de Atras de la Arpillera''features a collection of interviews with Chilean textile workers whose experiences stitch together the country’s history of resistance.
Tamara Marcos is a textile artist and researcher of pre- Columbian iconography and Latin American embroidery of Indigenous peoples, as well as founder of the Trenza Textil virtual school. She has taken courses, seminars and has participated in various exhibitions in Chile and Argentina. She currently resides and develops her work in Chilla?n, N?ubleregion, linking textiles, women, and decolonization processes.
Memorarte formed in 2015, when Erika Silva, Alejandra Campos, y Cynthia Iman?a invited Pamela Monasterio,Ximena Ferna?ndez, Ana Reyes to the collective and began work within the neighbourhood of Pedro Aguirre Cerda in Santiago, Chile. They organise their textile work around the slogan “Bordar para Incidir” which can be translated to“embroidery for change”. Through their work in the collective, Memorarte has developed a distinctive style, creating large-scale textiles that are activated within marches, protests, and other public spaces. In 2020, they created the Escuela de Arte Textil y Resistencia where they teach virtual and in-person classes related to the creation of protest arpilleras, embroidered handkerchiefs,feminist textiles, and others. Memorarte have collaborated with: Greenpeace in different projects for the defense of waterand against salmon fisheries; they have participated in different research related to textile art, human rights, and feminism; and they have collaborated with academic projects, and other artistic organizations. Memorarte has exhibited their work in the Murray Edwards College of the University of Cambridge; the London School of Economics and Political Sciences U.K; Le Rocherde Palmer and the Instituto Cervantes in Bordeaux, France; the United Nations;the Gabriela Mistral Centre (GAM), and the Museo Violeta Parra in Chile.
Autorretazo Collective formed in 2018 and uses arpilleras as a political tool to express social and political demands. The collective has created large-scale textiles that were activated during the 2019 social revolt in Chile. The arpilleras have been exhibited at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, National Stadium, and other memory sites across Chile. The collective has organized various workshops and events where women participate in the creation of collective textiles, contributing to the struggles and demands of the feminist movement.
Jubilee Crafts was a women’s collective that sold fair-traded international crafts in Germantown, a working-class neighborhood of in Philadelphia, between the 1970s and 1990s. The dictatorial arpilleras selected for Hilos Conductores come from this collection via SUNY Potsdam (USA). While not all these arpilleras are signed, some are attributed to individual arpillera makers or workshops. These include Silvia Pardo, Celia Armijo, Soledad Moyanoll and Juana D.from Taller Santa Elvira, Ester from Taller Santa Adriana, Taller Mujeres, LaNueva Esperanza, Taller Los Amigos, La Araucaria Taller, Taller La Faena, and an unidentified workshop in Puente Alto.Among other items, the collective sold and exhibited hundreds of arpilleras to support economically vulnerable populations and to educate people about U.S. foreign policy toward Chile.Decades after Jubilee Crafts closed its doors and Chile returned to electoral democracy, this arpillera collection ended up in the North Country region of New York thanks to M.J. Heisey, a member of the collective and history professor, who joined her colleagues at SUNY Postdam and St. Lawrence University through the Forging Memory project to research the collection and exhibit it in Spring 2019. As part of this project, the Forging Memory team interviewed arpillera makers María Madariaga, Patricia Hildago, Victoria Diaz,Emilia Vasquez Requelme, Laura Herrera, Carmen Aravena Indo, Aida Moreno and Sylvia Avancado. The Jubilee Crafts collection is currently under the care of Chilean professor Liliana Trevizan, who will return the arpilleras to Chile as a donation to the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in Santiago.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Nathalia Santos Ocasio is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Queen’s University. Her research looks at how place-based art practices respond to and resist complex global economic processes. A Queen’s University, Nathalia has been active in the GEELs research lab as well as in advocacy for international students. She is Human Geography editor for the Global Encounters: New Visions journal.
Sur Gallery Exhibition: 39 Queens Quay East, Suite 100
Embroidering Collectivity with Bélgica Castro Fuentes and Soledad Fátima Muñoz Textile Museum of Canada
Saturday, January 14th, 1-5pm
Embroidering Collectivity with Hector Maturana Bañados and Soledad Fátima Muñoz Textile Museum of Canada
Thursday, January 21st, 1-5pm
Opening reception at Sur Gallery
Thursday, February 2nd, 7-9pm
Curator Tour with Nathalia Santos Ocasio
Sur Gallery, Toronto
Saturday, February 11th, 1-3pm
Artist Talk with Erika Silva from Memorarte and Tamara Marcos
Thursday, March 2nd, 7-8:30pm, online via Zoom.
Studies in National and International Development, A conversation with Bélgica Castro
Hybrid event at Queen’s University
Thursday, March 16th, 1-2:30pm.
Closing Event: Walking tour from Sur Gallery to Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) with workshop participants.
Saturday, April 1st, 2-5:30pm
Gallery Hours (during exhibition):
Thursday - Friday noon-6:00PM
Sat 11 AM-5 PM
100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto