La Cadena Que No Se Corta: The Unbroken Chain

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Ramona Franco's altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Tucson, August 1993 (CV)
Ramona Franco's altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Tucson, August 1993 (CV)

This elaborate altar, which stands all year round in Ms. Franco's home, centers around an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that has been in the family for three generations. An annual vigil is kept here by the family in December 11, the eve of The Virgin of Guadalupe's day.

Nacimiento detail, December 1992 (JSG)
Nacimiento detail, December 1992 (JSG)

A detail of the Araneta family nacimiento or nativity scene. This nacimiento is a complex one in the Mexican tradition, and includes several scenes from the Bible, a stream of real water, and such additional details as the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, a Mexican market and a ranch, in addition to the more usual manger, shepherds and angels. Gilbert and Aurelia Araneta have moved this nacimiento from their home to the University of Arizona Museum of Art for the exhibition. It contains 1,500 tiny lights, a number of biblical and other scenes. The biblical scenes include the Adoration of the Shepherds, the journey of the Magi, the Flight into Egypt, the Holy Family at home, and Jesus meeting the Woman at the Well. Also depicted are a Mexican market, a ranch, a country store, a potter's shop, and the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe to Juan Diego. This seeming cluster of anachronisms actually serves to move the Christmas narrative out of time and place and into a kind of universal space.

Almeida family nacimiento December, 1981 (JSG)
Almeida family nacimiento December, 1981 (JSG)

Another, simpler nacimiento, this one belonging to the Almeida family on Tucson's west side. Nacimientos are really specialized altars erected at Christmastime. Scale and uniformity of the figures are much less important than color and complexity, but what really counts is the fact that the scene is there, creating a connection between the family and the Christmas events as chronicled in the New Testament.

The late Josefina Ayala's crochet work August 1994 (CV)
The late Josefina Ayala's crochet work August 1994 (CV)

Crochet work by the late Josefina Ayala. Crochet remains one of the most popular kinds of traditional handwork in the community, along with embroidery and deshilado, or drawnwork

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