JHI Program for the Arts

April 12, 2023

Congratulations to Maria Méndez Gutiérrez whose project ‘Embroidering Absence’ was selected for inclusion in the Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) Program for the Arts 2023-2024. The program supports a range of events from small to large, designed to enhance, improve and raise the profile of the Arts at the University of Toronto. The theme for 2023-24 is Absence.

‘Embroidering Absence’ will comprise of a visiting speaker event and public exhibition that explores how women’s memory work challenges and heals absence in times of war. Two Salvadoran cultural promoters will showcase the embroidery produced by women who fled the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) and sought refuge in United Nations camps in Honduras. Once in exile, these women refugees began the task of embroidering their experience of absence on cloth. Their powerful works of art contain memories of their war-ravaged homes, testimonies of massacres denied in official narratives, and ethnographic accounts of their life in exile. Sent to countries around the world to build international solidarity, these embroidered pieces were an exercise in collective memory that allowed women to symbolically repair those parts of their lives that were torn apart by violence. Altogether, the event aims to foster a deeper appreciation of the role of women’s memory work in recovering the past and shaping the future.

A full list of the selected projects and events is available here.