Sur Gallery opens with exhibition Hilos Conductores

Memorarte, detail of Salmon: Spoiled Fish, 2022.


Embroidering Collectivity with Bélgica Castro Fuentes and Soledad Fátima Muñoz
Textile Museum of Canada (TMC)

Saturday, January 14th, 1-5pm
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Embroidering Collectivity with Hector Maturana Bañados and Soledad Fátima Muñoz
Thursday, January 21st, 1-5pm
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Opening reception
Sur Gallery
Thursday, February 2nd, 7-9pm
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Curator Tour
Sur Gallery
Saturday, February 11th, 1-3pm
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Artist Talk with Erika Silva from Memorarte and Tamara Marcos
Thursday, March 16th, 1-2:30pm
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Studies in National and International Development, A conversation with Bélgica Castro
Hybrid event, Queen’s University
Thursday, March 16th, 1-2:30pm.
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Workshop with Tamara Marcos
Agnes Etherington Centre
Saturday, March 25th.
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Closing Event: Walking Tour
Sur Gallery to TMC
Saturday, April 1st, 2-5:30pm
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In Spanish, the phrase “hilos conductores” can mean two things: conductive threads and the main idea or theme of a story. Hilos Conductores explores the threads that connect life in Chile with Canada in uneven ways. These include copper mining, private water utilities and other extractive schemes, but also refuge, art and networks of transnational solidarity. To do this, this exhibition brings a sample of arpilleras (political textiles) created during the Chilean dictatorship together with the recent work of textile artists and collectives: Bélgica Castro, Soledad Muñoz, Tamara Marcos, Memorarte and Autorretazo. Spanning three countries and various decades, the presentation of these works seeks to honour generations of textile artists who have drawn on unsuspected materials, like thread, fabric and sewing needles, to denounce human rights violations, free-market economics and extractivism. Conceptualized during the 2019-2020 anti-establishment revolts in Chile and resulting constitutional referenda, Hilos Conductores highlights the power of political textiles to uncover complex geopolitical relations that stand in the way of social change and decolonial futures.

Given the uneven geographies that emerge from the state global political economy, transnational demonstrations of solidarity and hopes for transformative change require that we consider our own positionality within extractive schemes. They also require that we re-imagine North-South and human-nature relationships in more just and sustainable ways. It is by attending to these complexities that the thread of hope that runs throughout the works featured in this exhibition emerge.

Curated by Nathalia Santos Ocasio.

Co-presented by Sur Gallery, Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Textile Museum of Canada.

Unknown artist, Jubilee Crafts collection.


Bélgica Castro Fuentes started embroidering arpilleras in Santiago, Chile in 1978 and was part of the Arpillera Workshop of the Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared. She was exiled to Sweden in1986. She has developed an extensive body of work as an arts educator and arpillerista (arpillera-maker) in both Váxjó and Malmó, where she has lived since 2005.

Soledad Fátima Muñoz is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker and researcher born in Canada and raised in Rancagua, Chile. Her work seeks to explore the ever-changing social spaces we inhabit and the archival properties of cloth. Her latest collaborative audiovisual project entitled “La Parte de Atras de la Arpillera” features a collection of interviews with Chilean textile workers whose experiences stitch together the country’s history of resistance.

Tamara Marcos is a textile artist and researcher of pre- Columbian iconography and Latin American embroidery of Indigenous peoples, as well as founder of the Trenza Textil virtual school. She has taken courses, seminars and has participated in various exhibitions in Chile and Argentina. She currently resides and develops her work in Chillán, linking textiles, women, and decolonization processes.

Memorarte formed in 2015, when Erika Silva, Alejandra Campos, y Cynthia Imaña invited Pamela Monasterio, Ximena Fernåndez, Ana Reyes to the collective and began work within the neighbourhood of Pedro Aguirre Cerda in Santiago, Chile. They organize their textile work around the slogan “Bordar para Incidir” which can be translated to “embroidery for change.” Memorarte has developed a distinctive style, creating large-scale textiles that are activated within marches, protests, and other public spaces

Autorretazo Collective formed in 2018 and uses arpilleras as a political tool to express social and political demands. The collective has created large-scale textiles that were activated during the 2019 social revolt in Chile. The arpilleras have been exhibited at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, National Stadium, and other memory sites across Chile. The collective has organized various workshops for women to participate in the creation of collective textiles, contributing to the struggles and demands of the feminist movement.

Jubilee Crafts was a women’s collective that sold fair-trade international crafts in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, between the 1970s and 1990s. The arpilleras selected for Hilos Conductores come from this collection via SUNY Potsdam (USA). While not all arpilleras are signed, some are attributed to Silvia Pardo, Celia Armijo, Soledad Moyanoll and Juana D. from Taller Santa Elvira, Ester from Taller Santa Adriana, Taller Mujeres, LaNueva Esperanza, Taller Los Amigos, La Araucaria Taller, Taller La Faena, and an unidentified workshop in Puente Alto. The collective sold and exhibited hundreds of arpilleras to support economically vulnerable populations and to educate people about U.S. foreign policy toward Chile.


Nathalia Santos Ocasio is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Queen’s University. Her research looks at how place-based art practices respond to and resist complex global economic processes. At Queen’s University, Nathalia has been active in the GEELs research lab as well as in advocacy for international students. She is Human Geography editor for the Global Encounters: New Visions journal.

Sur Gallery is Toronto’s first gallery space dedicated to the exhibition and critical engagement of contemporary Latin American and Latinx art.

For information contact:

Gallery Hours:
Fri. Noon-6:00PM
Sat. 11 AM-5 PM

100-39 Queens Quay East
Toronto, ON

Sur Gallery acknowledges its partners Agnes Etherington Centre and Textile Museum of Canada; its sponsors Hoffworks and Ready2Post; and its funders the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and the City of Toronto through section 37.