Three years had passed since I lived in Sonora, I was now visiting home during Christmas and all frames had been taken down from the walls (the house was being painted). It was then when I noticed something different in my aunt Graciela’s diploma, I came closer to it and realized that nothing in it corresponded with her photo.
"Your nana (1) glued on it a photo of your aunt, you hadn’t noticed? Before you, only your cousin Jorge Luis Felix had seen this, he used to work in a mine and so he spoke english. He explained to us that that paper was not a diploma but money. We learnt knew because of him that that mine no longer exists and that, even if it still existed, we wouldn’t be able to exchange it because it is no longer in perfect conditions. "
This is an original certificate recognizing that Miguel F. Duarte is the "owner" of 10,000 shares of the capital of the Gold Coin Meza Mexican Mining Co., it was signed and stamped on May 11, 1903 in Ónavas (2) Sonora. Miguel was the grandfather of my grandmother's father, Miguel. The document was originally in a box full of papers that had been neglected, only my grandmother kept one of those papers for years because she liked the drawings on it.
We don’t know when she decided to glue her daughter’s photo onto the Gold Coin Meza Mexican Mining Co. logo. By doing so, a new image emerged, which would appear to be have a legal or institutional recognition. She had to frame it, but there were no framers in the village. She therefore traveled to the city to do it, which made me think that his intention to make it look like a diploma was quite serious.
My grandmother led a conventional life, perhaps that is why I was struck by the radicalness of the gesture: to intervene a legal document to give "shape" to a personal desire. She showed me that there is no one without the other, so why do we have a name if it is not to be named? It took me 26 years to really "see" the document, I now wonder if pedestrians passing through Prague's street in Mexico City will see a diploma or a certificate of shares?
In the PROYECTO VITRINA at Arredondo \ Arozarena gallery, the original document that was disassembled from the frame will be exhibited and the elements that compose it will be presented within the structure of the cabinet reproducing the order of the framing itself.
When I asked if I could use the diploma for an exhibition, my family said “sí, pero con v de vuelta (3)” (something like “yes, but you will have to return it") . This colloquial phrase refers both to the path of what “belongs” and also to the promise that underlies every investment: the return trip, the expected return of the economic, that which points to the symbolic and finally that emotional element of the object or the person in which one invests.
1. Nana: refers to “grandmother”.
2. Ónavas is located in the Sierra de Sonora near the Chihuahua border in northwest Mexico.
3. Colloquial phrase used to reiterate that what is lent has to be returned.
PROYECTO VITRINA works as a showcase of collaborative projects between diverse artists and Arredondo \ Arozarena gallery. It is on view at Praga Street in Colonia Juarez, Mexico City.