One of the beautiful things in my life, the reason why I went there in the first place leaving behind what had been my home since birth, was a woman named Norma Alicia Lopez whom I met in 1986. A woman of Mexican heritage living in the United States with her family, all of the new generation being born in the U.S, she as well as the previous generations had been born and raised in Mexico. On Sunday mornings over huevos rancheros, a breakfast burrito, chilaquiles or some other delicious Mexican breakfast that was often followed by fruit and toast, we would talk about many things and Mexico happened to be one of them that fascinated me deeply. I was lucky enough to visit places like Mexico City, Juanahuato, Acapulco, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and many other beautiful places, all with Norma and other members of the family. All of that time I was able to learn about the history of Mexico from the time of the Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, Olmecs and other Native Americans.
One of the experiences I had whilst in Mexico was that of when I was able to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan, which I do highly recommend my readers go see – it’s quite something to visit them. When one speaks of pyramids, we often think of the pyramids of Egypt. The pyramids of Mexico however are just as advanced and impressive, and that has been talked about more in recent years. Certainly when I was growing up I learned much more about Egyptian culture than I did about any of the Mexican cultures.
What I would like to talk more about in this piece is its subject of course, the painting. It revolves around the advent of the Spanish into Mexico. To the left of the middle, there is a green part coming up from the dark abyss. That is one of the pyramids. This painting epitomizes what the Europeans did upon arriving to the Western Hemisphere, which I believe is becoming common knowledge now. They were the most unscrupulous of all civilizations, going where they wanted and taking what they wanted. I imagine if Indians came into Europe and just claimed land and agriculture there, how they would be seen as the enemy then, whereas Europeans have until recently been seen as the stronger, smarter race.
Basically the Aztecs in their own right were fairly advanced. There were a lot more Aztecs than there ever were Spanish. You have to ask yourself, how did the Spanish conquer the Aztecs despite this fact? The first reason is that the Spanish were on horses which the Aztecs had never seen. In the belief system of the Aztecs they had been told that a God would come on the back of some creature, so of course when they saw the Spanish dressed differently than themselves and on the backs of horses, they invited them in as gods, and as we know, suffered the consequenses. That’s how the Spanish were able to conquer the Aztecs in the way that they did – brutally. The Spanish held banners that read “If you don’t pray to our god, you will be executed” and because the Aztecs did not read Spanish, a lot of them got executed. The treatment of the Aztecs really was the epitome of the brutal behavior of the Europeans.
The volcano in the painting at the top of the painting represents the active volcano near Mexico city. Directly below it is another volcano – a volcano of blood. This was a way for me to represent the brutality of the Spaniards, who slaughtered many Aztecs and brought diseases over to the Americas that killed millions of Natives throughout. There are two lines that lead up to the fountain of blood – the smaller one (as there were a lot less of them) on the right representing the Spanish, and the larger one on the left representing the Aztecs. All in all, this is my homage (perhaps an anti-homage?) to the diabolical cruelty of those who go to other lands invading others countries.