i invite you to consider this sculpture––la malinche, by jimmie durham––with me.
currently, i am working on a piece inspired by la malinche, my trip back to the u.s. for a few weeks, eve ensler’s book “insecure at last” and my ongoing wonderings on pilgrimage/culture/missions/anthropology. more to come.
“this sculpture appears at first to be a traditional native american carving. the melancholy face decorated with beads, snakeskin and feathers speaks of a stolen inheritance. but a work by durham — cherokee indian artist, and political activist — is never what it seems. this is no ‘authentic’ artifact. the figure is wearing plastic, hippy jewellery and a chain-store bra, the body an assemblage of recycled objects. la malinche was an indian princess who was the mistress of a white man, and, as such, this work can be interpreted as a symbol of sexual oppression and colonial domination. playful and poignant, this sculpture comments on hybrid culture, and also questions the prejudices of the western viewer — our desire to treat non-western art as exotic ethnography and our readiness to accept stereotypical representations of indigenous peoples. referring to himself as a ‘post-modern primative’ durham pinpoints his complex intellectual position as a native american artists in a eurocentric world.” the 20th century art book. phaidon press, 2001.