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Unraveling Tradition: Saskia Jorda

Saturday, May 4 – Sunday, July 14, 2013

Opening Reception

Saturday, May 4, 2013, 7 – 10 p.m. during the Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk

Saskia Jorda with Angelica Perez-Aguirre

Saskia Jorda with Angelica Perez-Aguirre

Unraveling Tradition is an installation that sets out to explore the coming-of-age tradition of the Quinceaí­±era, 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 Quinceaí­±era 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 Quinceaí­±era 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 Quinceaí­±era Magazine for their generous in-kind support of this project.


Past Blog Posts of the Artist Residency and her Public Engagement: