Come and join us on Saturday 25th March!. 

Discover the beautiful, deep and emotional art of the Latin American Arpilleras and let your creative ideas loose.
During the Latin Arpilleras workshop, you will learn the technique to create a unique work of art. You don’t have to be an artist, just be inspired by your dreams, feelings and desires. Above all, we want you to express your imagination and creativity, through needles, fabrics and threads.
Together, we will create a collective work of art in which common stories and experiences are shared with harmony and respect. In this way, we want to represent our common space, be it the Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt, the neighborhood or even the city of Amsterdam, with its symbols, colours and shapes. To participate in this workshop, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of sewing or embroidery. 

The name Arpillera (or burlap) refers to a type of cloth, usually used for wrapping foodstuffs, such as flour or wheat. It was first used as a canva by the great Chilean artist Violeta Parra around 1960. She named the textile work that resulted from her creative, profound and self-taught way of embroidering her dreams, desires and sorrows on them, arpillera. Soon, the technique was enriched by the hands of the “Bordadoras de Isla Negra”, a collective of women embroiderers from this coastal town in Chile.

In the 70s and 80s, it became an important popular textile tradition cultivated by hundreds of women in Chile as an act of resistance and denunciation during the Pinochet dictatorship. These “embroidered pictures” became a living testimony of the human rights violations during the dictatorship, but also a form of emotional restraint in the face of the tireless struggle for truth and social justice. Nowadays, this technique is used by women and artists across Latin America. 

Materials needed: 
1. Pieces of coloured fabric (ideally, they should not be elastic or too rigid). The idea is to reuse fabrics and textiles that you already have at home. 
2. Sewing and/or embroidery thread and needles 
3. Wool. 
4. (If you have) Nylon panties and synthetic cotton. 
We invite you to bring a biscuit to share during the workshop.

Free entrance , limited places. Registration in:

Workshop guided mainly in Dutch.

The cultural center Het Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt has invited us to be part of their textile exhibition “Women working for peace”, with the textile work “Justice, Dignity and Peace”(1), that a group of Chilean women and men weaved collectively, in December 2019, in Casa Migrante Amsterdam, demonstrating for the restitution of the rule of law, after knowing of the serious human rights violations committed by agents of the Chilean State against the population during the Social Outbreak of October of that year and the months that followed, which left dozens of people dead, hundreds of victims of state and sexual violence, more than 500 people with irreversible eye injuries, and hundreds of imprisonments of protesters.

This art exhibition will also include some of the textile works that we have continued to make in the Arpilleras Workshops organised by our Foundation, with which we promote the associativity, integration and creativity of Latin American and Spanish-speaking women and dissidents in the Netherlands. 

Where to see it? At Het Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt, Kerkstraat 123, 1017 GE Amsterdam.

When will it take place?  From March 6 to May 27, 2023. Free admission.

The exhibition is organised by the cultural centre Het Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt, in collaboration with Casa Migrante Amsterdam.

(1) “Justice, Peace and Dignity”, were the words chosen spontaneously by a group of people who gathered on December 7th, 2019, in Casa Migrante, Amsterdam, to make this emotional collective textile story, with which we joined from the Netherlands to the international call for textile activism “A thousand needles for dignity” of the Chilean visual artist, Karen Rosentreter.

With it, we express our big concern for the serious and systematic violations of Human Rights (HR) being committed by agents of the Chilean state against the population, after the social outbreak of October 18, 2019 (accredited and documented by major international human rights organisations), we give our support and call for international solidarity to demand the restoration of the rule of law, an end to political violence against demonstrators and respect for human rights in Chile.

This meeting was organised in the Netherlands, at Casa Migrante Amsterdam, by visual artist Mak Alvarez (, the Collective @Chile Despertó Holanda, and by us, in what was the beginning of our collective @Fundación Diáspora Solidaria

Since 2020, we have continued the work of activism and textile collectivism, offering workshops, encounters and meetings as a Foundation, to promote associativity, creativity, integration and empowerment of Latin American and Spanish-speaking women and dissidents in the Netherlands, inspired by the Arpillera, for the power of its narrative, as well as the historical relationship that this technique has with the defence of Human Rights.

¿What is an Arpillera?

The Arpillera (or jute) refers to a type of cloth, usually used to wrap flour or wheat. It was first taken as a canva by Violeta Parra, one of the greatest Chilean artists in history, around 1960.  She named the textile work that resulted from her creative, expressive and self-taught embroidery arpillera. Soon, the technique was enriched by the hands of the “Bordadoras de Isla Negra”, a collective of women embroiderers from this coastal town in Chile.

 In the mid 70’s the Arpilleras became true “Textil newspapers” that told the truth  which the official media did not want to tell, about the search for truth, justice and the defence of life, by the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared of the civil-military dictatorship of Pinochet (1973-1980).

Currently, this technique has been disseminated and enriched throughout Latin America, by the hand of women’s collectives and artists who continue to weave stories, narrating their experiences, dreams and desires for dignity, equality, social justice and respect for nature, promoting peace with needles, fabrics and threads.

More information about our Arpilleras Workshops, here.