Triax Arpillera Dolls Exhibition

Triax Arpillera Doll Virtual Exhibition

22 June - 31 July 2020

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre has worked in partnership with Conflict Textiles and the Bogside and Brandywell Initiative team to deliver a cross community arts project to women from the Triax area in Derry/Londonderry that has led to the creation of this new virtual exhibition.

The Triax Neighbourhood Management Team (TNMT) at the Bogside and Brandywell Initiative (BBI) are a community development organisation in Derry/Londonderry working across the Bogside, Creggan, the Brandywell and the Fountain areas which have experienced violence and sectarian incidents since The Troubles right up to the present day. Since 2012, the TNMT have been funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) for a Peace Walls Project to work towards the ultimate goal of reimaging/reimagining and eventually the declassification of this peace wall interface. Resident consultation has revealed the continuing fear associated with any immediate change to the wall, but long-term, most residents indicate a desire for it to be removed as a barrier between the two communities. In the meantime, therefore, the Peace Walls Project has been working to bring residents from both communities together to build trust, understanding and good relations through craft groups, cross-community events, trips, and workshops.

As part of this Peace Walls Programme, a group of women from the Triax area were scheduled to undertake a tour of the ‘Embracing Human Rights: Conflict Textiles’ Journey’ exhibition and an arpillera-making workshop at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in March, unfortunately, the outbreak of Covid-19 prevented this. Thanks to the innovation and dedication of the curator Roberta Bacic and the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural team the exhibition and associated activities were moved online to ensure that everyone could still engage with the arpilleras. The residents were invited to view the exhibition online and familiarise themselves with the pieces in the exhibition during lockdown. Working with the Peace Walls Team, Roberta and the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre team helped form a series of weekly activities that the Triax residents could do at home. One of these activities was “Make your own arpillera doll”. Each woman connected to one piece from the original exhibition that inspired her to create an associated doll. This led to the creation of the new virtual exhibition on the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre website which displays the dolls made by the women of the Derry/Londonderry Peace Wall Project, including their creators’ reflections. It is hoped that this exhibition is the first step in their textiles journey. The next is intended to be the creation of their own Derry-Londonderry themed arpillera.

Clare McLaughlin

This doll was inspired by the 'Landmines' arpillera by Heidi Drahota.

“Here’s my doll (Lindiwe). She was out collecting wood to sell with her brother (Tocalosh) when she lifted a strange bit of metal; it blew up and she lost an eye, arm and leg. Now she has to heal fully while she waits on prosthetic limbs, if she’s lucky. A lot of the time they will be second hand. She has no mouth because children’s voices aren’t heard”.

Patrizia (Ruby) Downey

This doll was inspired by the ‘March of the miners’ wives, daughters, and sisters’ arpillera by TL, Mujeres Creativas workshop.

“I picked ‘March of the miners’ wives’ because of the struggle they went through for better conditions for their husbands. It made me think on my father; he wasn't miner, but he worked in trains that used the coals that the miners worked hard to bring up from the mine. I loved the ‘March of the miners wives’ quilt they made”

Patricia McLoone

This doll was inspired by the 'Landmines' arpillera by Heidi Drahota.

“I chose ‘Landmines’ because it highlights the fact that a lot of innocent children were killed or maimed by them. My wee doll lost a leg to a landmine”.

Mary Thompson-Meenan

This doll was inspired by the ‘My Daughter’s Wedding’ arpillera by Fàtima Mansouri.

“This story touched me, as the mother couldn't attend her daughter's wedding because she lost her residence while she was looking after her very sick mother. It got me thinking about my cousin Patricia, who didn't have her mum at her wedding as she was murdered during the Troubles in our country. I could not imagine what Patricia was feeling like on her very special day”.

Jean McGarrigle

“I picked the ‘March of the miners’ wives, daughters, and sisters’ arpillera. My father was a miner, but he didn’t have to work in bad conditions like those in Peru. Their human rights were denied, and they had no freedom of expression. My doll Andrea marched with her mother and sisters to protest against these working conditions in the miners’ camps; they marched for days”.

Joan Robb

“I picked the ‘Land Mines’ by Heidi Drahota. My uncle lost his leg in a car bomb. My doll is a young girl who was in the mountains to gather firewood when she stood on a mine and lost her leg”.

Jacqueline Cregan

This doll was inspired by the ‘March of the miners’ wives, daughters, and sisters’ arpillera by TL, Mujeres Creativas workshop.

“I picked ‘March of the Miner’s Wives’ because it reminded me of my dad who worked at the docks, taking the coal off the boats, then delivering the bags of coal all over the place. I was also inspired by the dedication of the wives to help their husbands”.

Ann Sherrard

This doll was inspired by the 'Landmines' arpillera by Heidi Drahota.

“My wee boy went out to play and found a toy plane. He thought- ‘great, a toy to play with’, so he lifted the plane and… BANG!... up went the plane and the wee boy’s hands, arm, and leg with it- poor wee boy was left maimed and with life changing consequences”.

Eileen O’Doherty

“I've picked the ‘Land Mines’ arpillera by Heidi Drahota. Here’s Sandy. Sandy has only one shoe as she lost a foot to a landmine”.

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