“Trenza” (Braid)

Sculpture in the Alienation exhibition at the De Leon White Gallery.
August 21 to September 5, 2004.1096 Queen Street W. (at Dovercourt) , Toronto.
Medium: Japanese paper, acrylic polymer, hemp and wire.
Approximate dimensions: 60 x 46 x 200 cm
Date: 2004

Artist Statement

Puerto Rican culture is largely the product of 3 cultures: Taíno, African and Spanish. The role of women in this rich history, which is hardly officially recorded, carries a mystery within it that fuels my imagination. Rather than knowing the individual stories of my ancestors, I rely on the legacy that has been passed on to me through language, legends, food, craft, music and dance. I recognize the traces of each part of my ancestry in my body, my skin, my mother’s customs, my grandmother’s sayings…

“Braid / Trenza” represents the continuity – physical and spiritual – that exists through generations of women. The braid symbolizes for me the weaving together of the 3 cultures by women’s hands, as each one contributes through their own means to the collective
advancement of our place in the world.

By casting my body -which I feel is that of my ancestors- I reflect upon our belonging to Nature and its cycles of decay and regeneration. It is my way of getting close to my roots and celebrating the work, strength, creativity, beauty, dignity and resistance of the women who lived through the colonization of the Americas and who live on through the mestizas
of today.

Taira Liceaga