Paper Doll Series (Cucas)
When I was a little girl, I used to play with paper dolls ( paper figures one dresses up with different styles of paper outfits and accessories). Some years ago I came across my old bag of paper dolls. I was gathering mementos in Ecuador where I grew up, to bring them to my home in the United States.
At the time I was working with fabrics and artist’s books and I have already developed some pieces such as genealogical quilts and particularly three-dimensional skirts. It therefore occurred to me that I could draw upon the paper dolls to develop a new artistic genre of my own. One that would allow me both to draw upon untapped family and ethnic memories, and complex and controversial contemporary gender issues.
The term Cuca in the Andean region is an ideologically loaded term, it signifies paper doll (in Quito) where I grew up, and it signifies vagina in the Caribbean region of Colombia, a region that would eventually come to have a significant influence in my life.
I keep only blurred recollections of my childhood. Of that period I only keep old photographs of myself. Through flashbacks prompted by sites of my old Cucas and photographs, I have sought to reconstruct those blurred childhood memories which I have refashioned in the light of my present experiences.
I have printed old photographs (mine included but not exclusively) onto surfaces, such as papers (tea bags, cigarette wrappings, pages from old books, etc) veneer, tree bark etc.
Photographs and different fibers are the building blocks upon which I have refashioned my past and therefore upon which I have built my Cucas.
I have also employed weavings and stitches. Sewing is also firmly associated with personal memories, particularly with my grandmother and all those woman who brought me up.
My works are aesthetic reflections on how gender has shaped and still shapes my life. I seek to work out the origins of my many identities: as a mother, a woman, an artist, a daughter, a teacher, a friend.