Quetzalcoatl=Margin=Thorn

Dimensions Date
Hanging Panel: 24”x36”x2.5” | Each panel on podium/base: 12”x12”x3.5” | dimensions of all three together12”x36” x3.5” 2020
Materials
Hanging Panel: A solitary, grounding walk in the Franklin Mountains, commercial plotter prints of desert plants and sky, definitions from The Dictionary of Possibilities, annotations by the artist, wax paper,blue and brown ink in the formation of Mexican tile designs, and fringe mounted on wood panel with wax.

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Horizontal Panels: Masa migajon thorns, ink in the formation of Mexican tile designs, and wax mounted on wood panels.

Description
Material list functions as primary description.

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Quetzalcoatl, or “the plummed serpent” is a Mesoamerican cultural hero and deity, known as the god of intelligence, craft, self-reflection, creation, and the giver of maize. Many Mesoamerican civilizations and cultures claim direct descendance from Quetzalcoatl.

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Drawing parallels to the various ways desert plants create biological copies of themselves and spread naturally either by propagation (literally pieces of the plant falling off or being carried by animals and then re-rooting into the ground and growing where they lay) or via the production of suckers (a new plant growth that develops at the rootstock), the artist claims a carbon copy lineage to both the desert and to the spirit of Quetzalcoatl.

Additional Information
Personal Narrative from Quetzalcoatl:

 

I was there at the beginning. Five times the earth began. Five times the earth will end. A sixth time, and a seventh time it will happen again.

 

Both bird and rattlesnake, I was born tethered to the heavens and earth.

 

During one beginning endless years ago, my brother Tezcatlipoca and I clashed, and our sister, the goddess of the earth, got stuck in between. In the end, we were covered in her blood. Of course we felt shame. We tried to fix her by reforming the scattered parts of her body. We made trees and flowers which sprang from her scattered tufts of hair. From her jaw, mouth, and throat we made mountains. The springs of tears that flowed from her eyes cut valleys, riverbeds, and caves into this new topography. As beautiful as our sister’s new body was, she remained inconsolable; she remains so today, demanding blood.

 

We may seem violent, but neither of us are what we seem.

 

Every age before this one was sustained by a delicate balance between opposing forces. And the battle with my brother Tezcatlipoca which created this world was not a struggle between good and evil (the battle of opposing forces cannot be understood in moral/immoral terms); rather, our battle was a question of harmonizing antithetical powers, (light and dark, day and night, sky and earth…). It was disharmony (not the defeat of good, God, or purity) that brought about the end.

 

We assume that binaries are fixed, strong, and stable—that borders actually exist and that they provide strength to the world. We also assume that the weakness in our society comes from the opposite of our own perspective—that it comes from theother instead of realizing that our collective sickness comes from the trust we place in the mythological hierarchy of our binary constructs—instead of trusting in their interconnectedness. We do not realize that to separate light-dark, left-right, male-female, is actually the creation of our own weakness.

But to me it is obvious; I have been a border my whole life and will remain a border into the next.

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Migajon is a culturally significant craft and is often a resourceful skill utilized by matriarchs as a way to bridge the gap of family need with family income. It involves the creation of a clay body—usually a mixture of glue and day-old bread sourced from the rubbish of local bakeries. Once formed and dried, pieces (usually flowers) are often painted and assembled into domestic decorative pieces and sold at fairs of bazars; the money earned is often used to buy masa (cornmeal) for the family table. Here, the artist uses the tradition of migajon to create thorns instead of flowers and replaces day-old bread with masa and cornstarch (using the material often seen as the end result or  goal of the process) to further navigate the cultural, celebratory, and spiritual associations masa holds in both ancient and contemporary Mexican households.

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Many people focus on the aggressive, protective nature of a thorn; but thorns have a more nurturing purpose than most people realize. Thorns are often used by plants to collect humidity and water and draw these collections into the base of the plant. They also protect the more sensitive parts of the plant from the heat of the sun by casting shadows from direct sunlight.

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