Engraved Handcuffs and Guard
“Las mujeres callan porque, aleccionadas por la religión, creen firmemente que la resignación es virtud; callan por miedo a la violencia del hombre; callan por costumbre de sumisión; callan, en una palabra, porque en fuerza de siglos de esclavitud han llegado a tener alma de esclavas.”—María Lejárraga, 1917
“Women remain silent because, taught by religion, they firmly believe that resignation is a virtue; they remain silent from fear of man’s violence; remain silent from the habit of submission; remain silent, because after the force of centuries of slavery, they now have soul of slaves.” —María Lejárraga, 1917
I was invited by Belia de Vico to exhibit in her intimate gallery space located in a prestigious shopping mall in Guatemala. The installation consisted of handcuffs that were engraved Ella de El (She of He), referring to the marriage tradition in many Latin American countries of taking the husband’s name with the preposition of, thus becoming property of men. Also, in Spanish the word handcuffs (esposas) it’s the same as the plural for female spouse (esposas).
As part of the installation a security guard was hired to watch over the handcuffs. On the last weekend of exhibition, my husband and artist Roni Mocán, did a performance replacing the guard.
“Título de propiedad,” Galería Belia de Vico / Arte contemporáneo, Guatemala
November 4-14, 1999
Installation of engraved handcuffs and guard, dimensions variable
Toledo, Aida. “En el performance y la instalación. Espacios imaginarios de artistas guatemaltecas” (On Performance and Installation: Imaginary Spaces of Guatemalan Women Artists), Revista Isis Internacional (Chile), 2002