Crafting Resistance: The art of Chilean political prisoners
30 October - 17 November 2017
An exhibition co-curated by Jasmine Gideon, Birkbeck, University of London, and Gloria Miqueles, Chilean ex-political prisoner.
Crafting Resistance challenged the idea of political prisoners as 'passive victims' which fails to recognise the degree of agency many prisoners retain despite the horrific circumstances they endure. During the military dictatorship of General Pinochet in Chile (1973-1990) hundreds of political prisoners were held in concentration camps throughout the country. In a number of these camps, prisoners organised themselves and crafted items from the very limited materials and improvised tools available to them. The exhibition brought together a collection of these artefacts and reflected on their importance in relation to sustaining the mental health and wellbeing of those incarcerated. These artefacts are now testimony to the mental endurance of all those who were political prisoners under the Pinochet regime.
The exhibition was part of ‘Chilean Exiles in the UK’, an AHRC funded project led by Professor Alison Ribeiro de Menezes and Professor John King with the World University Service to explore the role of UK groups and activists in assisting refugees and exiles after the fall of Allende in 1973. The project will run until summer 2018 in collaboration with the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile, and the Modern Records Centre at Warwick.
A 25 minute film about 'Crafting Resistance', including interviews with some of the former political prisoners, is available through Vimeo.
Photograph: Mural in 3 and 4 Alamos, one of the concentration camps of Pinochet's dictatorship, made by muralist Ian Pierce (aka "Ekeko").