Putting Memories in Motion: Embroidered Handkerchiefs for the Dead and the Disappeared in Mexico

  • Katia Olalde (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


In this article, I inquire into the moving quality of a set of embroidered handkerchiefs commemorating the victims of the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. These handkerchiefs were stitched within the framework of the Embroidering for Peace and Memory Initiative, a collaborative project developed by a group of cultural activists in Mexico City in June 2011. I posit that the centrality of touch which characterizes hand embroidery together with the intimate contact between cloth and skin enabled the needleworkers either to nurture their affective bonds with their missing loved ones or to develop a sense of empathic connection with people they did not know. Finally, I propose to conceive these embroidered handkerchiefs as an expression of the nonviolent action of consolation, which José Guadalupe Sánchez Suárez understands as the endearing and bodily approach prompted by the loving connection arising in the face of an open expression of pain.


Stickerei, Gewaltlosigkeit, Erinnerung, Affekt, Kampf gegen den Drogenhandel