Maria Gaspar’s Oblation for Another Parade is a monument that commemorates the self preservation of cultural identity. This oblation, or offering, draws from the artist’s personal narratives and memories of local Mexican cultural celebrations such as parades and processions. These events, often large gatherings of participants, performers, and onlookers, encourage a collective cultural identity by creating a shared sense of place and community. Yet at the same time, individuals within the community also strive to demarcate a unique sense of self through their interactions and relationships with other members of the community.
Within the gallery, a curtain divides the room to create an inaccessible space from which items protrude. The sculpture, with its discarded materials and color, makes reference to the immigrant body or the “other.” Like a burial site, the installation offers the opportunity to examine, honor, and contemplate the personal history contained within a public space.
On October 2 during the preview of UBS 12 × 12: New Artists/New Work at First Fridays, the artist and a group of performers emerge from the interior of the installation and begin a procession through the main floor of the museum. This moving sculpture carves out space in the crowd, distinguishing the performers from the community around them. Making reference to the various starts and stops used in the timing of parades, their collective gestures and slow pace create a distinct collective social identity that refused to be subsumed by the larger group.