I started this series heavily influenced by Mexican Catholic home shrines, of which I had made quite a few at the time. I wanted to “invent” deities to put in these shrines. In trying to come up with something new, I stumbled upon a very old human expression for the sacred: Zoomorphism. What is more fantastic and impressive than beings that are human, and more than human too? Humans intermixed with their animal echoes/counterparts/protectors, featuring animal parts. Like wings, for example. Every human tradition has contemplated this visual experiment. So I started putting together these assemblages with pieces of vintage dolls, and Catholic statuary together with other found objects, mostly fake animal “parts”: wings – birds’ and moths’ –goat’s feet, bird’s feet, horns, fishtails etc. Not very human anymore. My new deities looked more ancient than new, but I still called them “Future Inhabitants”. I made shrines that would be both old and new, like the creatures themselves. I thought I would make classic-renaissance looking shrines, with tympanums, and cornices.
- Oh, the colonizing Victorianistic influences! -. Perhaps it is for the same reason that I gave these creatures Latin names, so they looked like Linnaeus had found them, and classified them himself. Then I painted the shrines with abstract motives from an exercise that I had worked on since art school, to create a background of spinning clouds from another planet, which was also the sunset skies in Mexico City after a volcano eruption filled the clouds with ashes.
I submitted the finished works to a new initiative the Mexican Institute of Fine Arts was spearheading, to have a National Salon of Visual Arts, and that they were inaugurating with a Three Dimensional Biennale. This was perfect for me, since after taking painting and drawing in art school, I plunged myself into making mostly assemblages and tridimensional collages. An international jury was put together by “Bellas Artes”, and my work was selected for the first Salon.
Here are some installation shots, and photographs of the works that were exhibited, plus other works that were added to series later. Some of the works were thankfully acquired by collectors, but all the others ended up in a storage space in Cancun where water that came in during 2005's hurricane Wilma destroyed most of the works. Of the original six, only one of them survived.
There is another story behind these characters. One that belongs to the cabinet of stories from which our dreams patch our nightmares together. One that starts in early childhood. I must have not been more than five years old when our nanny took my brother and me to the county fair, and there was a freak show! An Eagle Woman was standing on a table top, with her giant wings of speckled feathers sprawled across the tablecloth, and her giant talons at eyelevel of small children like me at the time, in front of my face. She was wearing a lot of jewelry, even a tiara, and a lot of make-up too. She was being interviewed with a microphone:
- Eagle Woman, Eagle Woman, why did you turn into the Eagle Woman???
- For disobeying my parents… (answered the Eagle Woman)
In retrospect I think I can extrapolate that it might just have been a small person stuffed in a taxidermied turkey, I hope.