An enduring impact

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca) (1940), oil on canvas

Visitors to the exhibit Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche might quickly notice something about the mysterious titular character: She looks different in every image and film.

That’s partly because of the time she lived — she was born around the year 1500 — and partly by design, Delilah Montoya told a crowd assembled at the Albuquerque Museum on June 26. Montoya is among the Southwest artists whose work is featured in the exhibit’s next stop at the San Antonio Museum of Art, where it will be displayed beginning Oct. 14.

After Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés landed along Mexico’s Gulf Coast in 1519, a local ruler “gifted” him 20 young women, among them a teen later called Malinche. Her linguistic talents provided her with unusual perspective and power in the years that followed, positioning her to both navigate and benefit from a collision of cultures.

An enduring impact

Alfredo Arreguín, La Malinche (con Tlaloc) (Malinche with Tlaloc) (1993)

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