An homenaje to all things wondrous and wild this time of year in our corner of the world --loosely inspired by a local folktale of the disobedient young lady seduced by the devil at a community dance. Smitten, she becomes transparent beneath his gaze. His appearance crosses centuries - skull face and long warrior hair under a classic fedora hat and flashy 40's suit.
The scene is the iconic historical shrine, El Tiradito (The Castaway) - often regarded as the heartbeat of Tucson, decorated for El Dia de los Muertos.
Ancient deities rule... shining through the moon. But La Virgen de Guadalupe lives on... here on a ball cap that could have been left by a thankful border-crosser. (When one becomes aware of La Virgen, one notices she is everywhere.)
As an afterthought I added a curious little dog, just following the trail of marigold petals...
A fresh look at La Llorona - the Weeping Woman
The Legend of La Llorona is one of the oldest in the Americas, and there are too many versions to go into here, but learn more about her HERE.
My interpretation brings a little redemption to one of the many maligned female archetypes in global mythologies. The endless repression of females, both political and religious, is debilitating by design. I also needed to create something to soothe my spirit after completing the En Memoriam series. Now I can look to El Día de Los Muertos with the joy in which it is intended.
I place La Llorona along the Santa Cruz River, somewhere south of Tubac. No saguaros here - she is framed by mesquite trees instead. I figure by now she's lost most of her hair. And she must be terribly, terribly weary. I put tiny eyes on the butterflies and colorful spots on their bodies to make them special. (Slightly Disney-esk possibly, oh well.) I always incorporate owls into my paintings where the veil between the worlds are thin. It is a guardian keeping watch over the ephemeral scene. Owls are sacred birds in many cultures and I adore them.
I include also a boulder with a petroglyph on it, alluding to the timelessness of the land.
This may be the last in my series honoring asylum seekers for a while. It is an intimate capture of the bond between parent and child. The process of painting the mother revealed the ancient classic Maya bone structure of her face. What timeless beauty. I wonder if they are still alive and together. This administration will go down in history for its crimes against humanity.
I must say here that this brutal saga of America's asylum seekers really struck a nerve. When stories started coming out about what "Zero-Tolerance" was doing to families, children, even babies, I absolutely could not stand it.
I was still recovering from surgery but was determined to DO SOMETHING... ANYTHING. When the plumbing collapsed at the old Benedictine Monastery (Tucson's primary migrant shelter), a dozen porta-johns were brought in and volunteers built outdoor showers from pallets, tarps, and PVC pipes. Plumber's daughter that I am, I and another lovely Catholic lady cleaned all of them daily, and continued to do so until the Casa Alitas Program relocated to their new location farther south. The asylum seekers were conscientious, and always offering to help me. The physical duresses they suffered were evident in what I cleaned and it was heart-wrenching. No innocent people, especially children and babies should be treated like this by the United States of America. These refugees, and the countless migrants before them are the ones who have cleaned OUR toilets and worse, in the shadows, for generations for Christ's sake. What is God's name is wrong with us? There were days it was so overwhelming I'd dissolve in my car before I could leave.
When that job went away, there were plenty of volunteers and I felt compelled to do something to lift up the humanity of these remarkable "throw-away" people who had suffered so much and come so far. That need gave birth to this series of artworks.
A blog of inspirations, interpretations-- things that move and fascinate me in this place where I'm planted.