Gods, Land, and People of Mexico

The exhibition Gods, Land & People of Mexico was first presented to the public at the Diego Rivera Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico with the caveat ‘with your permission’ in the title. The unraveling of the history of ancient religions of Mexico I leave to scholars and archaeologists to interpret. They will be challenged at times by the complexity of the period and additional myths will be added to the history of Mexico in order to hide the lack of historical facts, lost forever.

As an artist I have been influenced by the romantic history of the time of Cortez and the Spanish conquest of Montezuma, as well as the tragic destruction of a great culture and the subjugation and murder of its people. In my exhibition in Mexico City in 1992, at the Mexican-American Institute Gallery, I showed a 4 by 8 feet painting: “Cortez Meets Quetzalcoatl”.

This god is an anomaly; he was a god who was human who fell from power into ruin and was saved. Legends of Quetzalcoatl abound. My painting reflects the Spanish conquest: the god Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent, is shown cut in pieces, entwined around the pyramids of Teotihuacán. The painting is in the permanent collection of the Institute.

Here it is the beginning of the twenty-first century and Mexico still fascinates one; its beauty, strength, and soul are a compelling force in spite of modernization. This force is at the center of my vision as a North American artist; it enables me to place my visual imprint on how the gods, land and people of Mexico have played with my pallet and how all of this has come to be represented in my visual expression of contemporary Mexico.

** “The Quetzalcoatl story or stories are increasing tales of wonder. They meander in ease through the landscape of time and timelessness—along rivers and mountains and streams of the unknown and unnamed Americas. In its broad sweep it carries much strange mystic material—shamanistic roots and leaves of mud. As a composition it appears unfinished and unpolished. However, it is brilliant in sunlight and fluid in rainwater. It is still happening.” From the Sala Quetzal by Toni de Gerez Atención, SMA, Mex. 6/17/02

With Your Permission: Gods, Land & People of Mexico is an e-book by Salazar with 100 images with explanatory text and voice over in English, Spanish & French. Published 2004 by E-dition.