Casting off Being Cast off
Not all traditions deserve to be passed on. Claudia Huiza’s performance for video offers a glimpse at the artist’s ongoing, durational ceremonias wherein she “sheds” layers upon layers of the public and private forced education that are embedded in the fragmented–yet colorfully rich–amalgamation of cultures in which she grew up.
Statement from the artist:
Casting Off Being Cast Off is the first act in a new body of work that traces the first steps of a journey towards self-liberation. Appropriating words and actions that were used to indoctrinate and oppress me in both private domestic spaces and public social spaces, this is an intimate proposal for how to lift oneself and one’s dependents up from poverty, illness, self-doubt, inconsolable grief, physical attacks by others, police abuse, academic discouragement, and other obstacles and legacies of struggle and oppression. While the appropriated elements were originally meant to be protective, the traditions they embody have proven to be damaging and harmful first to myself, and then to my children.
In this piece, I assemble an altar inside a wooden dollhouse structure, dedicated to the women and men that have brought darkness into my world from what was supposed to be a place of shelter. In ritualistic manner, I counter those dark effigies and sayings with light beings and incantations meant to release the dark path and invoke the path of light, employing a variety of traditional Mayan cultural rituals. Commenting on religious oppression, domestic abuse, immobilizing patriarchal mores, and sexual violence directed at our most vulnerable youth, I touch on all of the factors that led to my own break with social norms in order to become one of a growing army of LADY SCUMBAGS—a woman who takes no shit from anyone and for whom nothing is impossible.
As LSBs, nothing will keep us down. Many of us have experienced the basest treatment at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect us, and like triumphant weeds growing and blooming from within small cracks in the concrete, we have survived, and now, we are here to “Cast off Being Cast off ” and forge a new kind of world where WE are the ones we have been waiting for.