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Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love; The Arpillera Movement in Chile, 1974-1994

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This book tells the story of ordinary women living in terror and extreme poverty under General Pinochet's oppressive rule in Chile (1973-89) and how their lives did and did not change following his reign. These women defied the military dictatorship by embroidering their sorrow on scraps of cloth and using their needles and thread as one of the boldest means of popular protest and resistance in Latin America. The arpilleras they made - patch-work tapestries with scenes of everyday life and memorials to their ...
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Overview

This book tells the story of ordinary women living in terror and extreme poverty under General Pinochet's oppressive rule in Chile (1973-89) and how their lives did and did not change following his reign. These women defied the military dictatorship by embroidering their sorrow on scraps of cloth and using their needles and thread as one of the boldest means of popular protest and resistance in Latin America. The arpilleras they made - patch-work tapestries with scenes of everyday life and memorials to their disappeared relatives - were smuggled out of Chile and brought to the world the story of their fruitless searches in jails, morgues, government offices, and the tribunals of law for their husbands, brothers, and sons. Marjorie Agosin, herself a native of and exile from Chile, has spent over twenty years interviewing the arpilleristas and following their work. She knows their stories intimately and knows, too, that not one of them has ever found a disappeared relative alive. Still, many of them maintain hope and continue to make their arpilleras. Even though the dictatorship ended in 1989 and democracy returned to Chile, no full account of the detained and disappeared has ever been offered. This book includes a history of the women's movement, testimonies from the women in their own words, and, for the first time, full color plates of their beautiful, moving, and ultimately hopeful arpilleras. Anyone interested in the history of contemporary Latin America will want to read this powerful story.

"Arpilleras are burlap-backed tapestries depicting the experiences and emotions of women whose sons and husbands were arrested and never heard from again during the years of military rule. Agosin's narrative traces the arpillera movement from its early days under the promotion and protection of the Catholic Church's VicarĂ¢ia de Solidaridad through the early 1990s, when newly reestablished civilian authorities decided not to more forcefully seek justice for victims of human rights abuses. The book includes 45 reproductions (on glossy plates), and the moving testimonies of a number of the arpilleristas themselves"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
As Isabelle Allende points out in her foreword to this history of the arpillera movement in Chile, women are natural weavers of stories and the tapestries produced by Chilean women during Pinochet's regime testify to the fact that even if a woman's voice is taken away, she still has her fingers to tell the truth. Robbed of family, friends, and a normal life by Pinochet's regime their stories inspire with courage and faith, the evidence of both displayed in the tapestries they created as their only means of protest and resistance. Lucky for us, Agosin (Spanish, Wellesley College) has collected these interviews and also beautiful photographs of the work, providing us with an extraordinary vision of bravery. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826316929
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 142
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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