La Redesilla

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

  The object pictured on here is a “redesilla” known in English as a hairnet. It was knitted by a niece and gifted to my mother as a symbol of a farewell gift when both she and my grandfather departed the Dominican Republic and arrived in New York City in August of 1971.   The redesilla is typically worn at night to protect the hair while sleeping but for my mother this item also holds a religious purpose. As a catholic born and raised in a small town located in the Dominican Republic, she believes that covering her hair with a redesilla for prayer at night is a cultural sign of her devotion to the church.  Interestingly enough, most Dominican woman condemn public exposure of the redesilla.  So while it is preferred that a woman wear a redesilla for prayer, this practice is to be take place in doors through the privacy of their own home. Showing up to church wearing a redesilla for instance is considered disrespectful.    Out of the very few items that she brought along for her journey here this was the last one that she packed and the item that she holds closes to her heart especially because the niece who knitted this hairnet is no longer with us.  This redesilla has survived close to 46 years so far and has remained in pristine form. It is the only witness to the start of my mother’s life when she migrated and started work at a drycleaners in Brooklyn at the ripe age of 16 and has been remained with her ever since. 

Place(s): Dominican Republic
Year: 1971

– Gaudy Guerrero Valdez

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant