March 21, 2009

Artwork features Tlazolteotl, Pomponio

More on Pomponio, the non-Chumash Indian who resisted the Spanish missionaries in California. Artist Romero calls his work a self-portrait and (sort of) explains it:

The “Outlaw” Pomponio & The Historical Art of David Gremard RomeroI am the figure in the middle, bending over with the red cape. I am wearing the mask of St. Thomas Moor Killer, or Matamoros, who was believed to help the Spanish when they fought the Indians, and on my leg is painted Father Junipero Serra carrying Carmel Mission in his arms, with the rest of the missions scattered as Tattoos across my body. I mean to suggest that I am embodying the idea or spirit of both Junipero Serra, a man I believe tried genuinely to do good but who had an ambivalent effect on California history to say the least, and the malign idea of a Saint who kills Indians, both of which were brought to California and are integral to our history.

The man on the floor is a figure who appears in many of my paintings. It is unclear if he has been knocked out by the Serra/St Thomas figure, while also being aided by him.

The woman is the Aztec goddess of Mercy, Tlazolteotl. Her symbol was her black mouth. Her name literally means “Filth Eater.” In Aztec culture, you had one opportunity to confess your sins in your life, and when you did so, Tlazolteotl ate them and released you from their burden. I was thinking of her as being sort of the referee.

And in the background, to the far right, you see Pomponio, another ambivalent figure, but one whom I prefer to think of as a resistance fighter.
Comment:  I didn't expect to find a reference to Pomponio in anything other than a history book, but here he is in pop art.

This piece is a bit like the art of Enrique Chagoya, who also uses Latino and Indian images to depict the clash of cultures. It's interesting even if I don't quite understand it.

Below:  "La Caida," 2008. Pastel and Gold Leaf on Paper. 56×38 inches. ("La Caida" means "The Fall"--as in the collapse or downfall.)


dmarks said...

They look a bit like Luchadores to me

Anonymous said...

Statement of Fact -

Some of the most homoerotic imagery I have ever seen; not that I harbor any malice towards gays* - I just see it for what it is.

*My half-brother is a "winkte."