Virgin Chain

Relationship: Im/migrant
Virgin Mary chain brought from Ecuador
Virgin Mary chain brought from Ecuador

The chain I wear around my neck every day is the object I chose for my story. Any Latin person will probably recognize my chain as something familiar to them, a symbol of faith and family most of us own or at some point have seen. I’m half Dominican and half Ecuadorian, born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. In a lot of ways, my story is not that different from many in our large mixing pot of a city. This chain represents my ties to my culture and my city alike, and it now also represents my dissent from both those things as I figure out who I am and who it is I want to be.

Gold in itself holds such a massive weight in my culture. Maybe I had Inca ancestors who wore large gold nose rings and fashioned ornamentation made from the finest golds found in their homelands. Maybe I had conquistador ancestors who murdered others just to bring the gold back to Europe where the blood of native people would have been washed off and the gold refashioned to suit European designs. Gold, a precious metal that was killed for, pierced through noses and cartilages alike, and is now a symbol of my devotion to my culture and my city. Gold grills, gold rings, and gold chains all make me who I am.

Place(s): Dominican Republic, Ecuador, New York City

– Angelica Aranda

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant