Unraveling Tradition is an installation that sets out to explore the coming-of-age tradition of the Quinceanera, popular in Latin American cultures. Through this project, artist Saskia Jorda reflects on what it means for a young girl to experience this rite of passage, and examines the impacts on these young girls families and to their direct communities. During the artist's two-month Grand Central Art Center residency, Jorda engaged in questions such as: "How do we hold on to tradition and retain cultural identity while assimilating a new culture?" "How does tradition change and evolve over time in a new cultural setting and how is that expressed through second and third generations?" and "What socio-economic impact does this celebration have on a family or community?"
While many of these questions are only partially answered, Unraveling Tradition has engaged in a direct dialogue with a variety of residents and businesses throughout Santa Ana, a community where the Quinceanera is relevant. For many, it is an important ritual that expresses family values and identity.
A key element in the visual vocabulary of Unraveling Tradition is the ruffle, a ubiquitous fashion element found in the elaborately ornate dresses in window displays of the numerous Bridal and Quinceanera shops along Santa Ana's Fourth Street. With the assistance of California State University Fullerton BFA student Angelica Perez-Aguirre, community members, additions CSUF faculty and students, and GCAC staff, the artist hand-gathered a strip of fabric that is approximately the length of Santa Ana's Fourth Street's shop district (nearly 1/4 mile long) - a continuous ruffle to metaphorically connect this long-standing tradition and its community.
In Unraveling Tradition, the long ruffle strand wraps around a sculptural frame (reminiscent of the historic hoop skirts) in a kinetic installation that will unravel throughout the course of the two and a half month exhibition: gradually the skirt frame becomes more and more exposed. As the skirt frame becomes uncovered, the ruffles build up into an excessive pile of ruffles, allowing the visitor to experience a revolving installation - a complex layer of meaning of this coming-of-age tradition.
Grand Central Art Center and artist Saskia Jorda would like to thank Quinceanera Magazine for their generous in-kind support of this project.
The opening reception will take place during the Artists Village Art Walk in Downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, May 4, from 7:00pm until 10:00pm.