La Morena, Performance-installation, Gallery 2, MFA Exhibition, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2004
La Morena was also exhibited as part of Sisterfire Conference, ACME Art Gallery, Chicago, 2005 and Yo Soy Chicago/I Am Chicago, performance showcase curated by Coya Paz, University of Chicago, 2007
La Morena draws upon the phenomenon of “appearances” by the Virgin throughout history to the present day.
I use my body to personify a layered archetype christened La Morena in an ir/reverent meditation on mixed-race femininity and the tension between religious and spiritual passions and the passion and nostalgia of love lost. The site-specific performance/installation/apparition also evokes Esu-Eleggua, Yoruba god of the crossroads, and Mexico’s brown-skinned Virgen de Guadalupe who was of such comfort to me after my mother passed. This work plays on the Annunciation, the passion of the Virgen in an ecstatic state as she is visited by the Angel Gabriel in contrast with the plaintive emotionality encapsulated in songs like “La Pistola y El Corazon” by Los Lobos.
La Morena is performed as a living statue in a diorama of desperate and disparate dichotomies, a holy temptress beckoning with songs of passion and violence, the glorified, contested Other, home to both good and evil, human and divine.