ARPILLERAS – poder SUAVE / SOFT power, Cecilia Valdés and The Salvador Allende Committee Workshop in Södertälje presents the Chilean artist and activist Cecilia Valdés’ (born 1941 in Viña del Mar, Chile) work with so-called “arpilleras”, textile artworks created by Chilean women in a seemingly naïve style, which is, however, heavily loaded with both social and political messages.
Valdés, who was forced into exile from her homeland for political reasons, came to Sweden in 1976. In her new hometown of Södertälje, the fight against Pinochet’s dictatorship continued through the formation of the women’s group “The Salvador Allende Committee Workshop”. By sewing and showing their arpilleras, the group spread information about the situation in Chile, as well as functioning as a proper support group for the women in exile. The exhibition shows arpilleras created by “The Salvador Allende Committee Workshop” and follows the group’s work until the early 1990s when the situation in Chile began to ease and Cecilia Valdés was given the opportunity to donate part of the studio’s work to the newly opened Salvador Allende Museum in Santiago.