Artist & Photographer
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Sangre y Leche

Sangre y Leche

2016, Archival Inkjet Print

 

“Sangre y Leche (La Malinche y La Virgin de Guadalupe).” Inspired from the Octavio Paz’s “The Sons of la Malinche,” this piece mixes pig’s blood and milk in a tin baking pan to illustrate the dichotomy of two of the most prominent women in Mexican folklore and history. “La Malinche, “ an indigenous woman of Mexico, played an integral part during the Spanish conquest of the New World, serving as an interpreter between the indigenous people and the Spanish conquistadors. History often brands her as a traitor however, claiming that she purposely let the Spanish take advantage of the Aztecs during negotiations of trade and war. As mistress to Hernán Cortés, “La Malinche” birthed a new nation when the two produced the first ever Mestizo child (children from European and Indigenous ancestry). In contrast, La Virgin de Guadalupe, a Mestizo representation of the Virgin Mary, is venerated throughout Mexico. She appeared to the Mexican saint Juan Diego in 1531, instructing him to build a Catholic church in Mexico City. Although both of these images served as a way for the Spanish to conquer the people through religion and through the mixing of the populations, the two figures are often entangled in a virgin/whore complex, which venerates one figure, and vilifies the other.

As well as representing these two motherly figures, Sangre y Leche explores the taboo in various religions by mixing blood and milk. As blood is often seen as dirty and milk is perceived as pure and life-giving, the combination symbolizes the birth of the Mexican nation; we need both liquids in order to live and thrive. The piece asks the reader to confront the grotesque nature of blood and “whoredom” with the beauty and “purity” embodied the “Virgin.” The eventual blur however, as the liquids mix together, symbolizes the mixture between Virgin and Malinche, both of which were used as weapons in colonizing the Aztec people.