Thursday, July 24, 2008

La Llorona in Print

la lloronaLa Llorona sure gets around. She travelled for almost two years, came home about a year ago, and yesterday I received a copy (thank you Domino!) of a powerful new culture studies book called There Was a Woman: La Llorona from Folklore to Popular Culture, written by Domino Renee Perez, Associate Prof. at UT-Austin, where she's included in the pages.

My beaded La Llorona is featured in the center color section, and also as a black and white in the final chapter -- along with, surprise surprise, photos and a description of my piece as it was greatly enlarged and used (rearranged a bit it appears) as a backdrop for a children's theatre play. I had no idea! It it rather mind-boggling to think of that polarity -- the teeny tiny beadwork and the humongous stage set.

I suspect the writing must have started out as Ms. Perez's doctoral dissertation -- I know the book itself was at least 3 years??? in the making (and that's a loooong pregnancy folks!). It's very dense writing, but readable, approachable. The book basically traces the history to contemporary interpretations of the legend of La Llorona, the wailing, child-stealing, waterways haunting woman of Hispanic cultures of the southwestern U.S. (and Mexico...)

I guess I was drawn to making the piece because of my association of La Llorona with the ancient European (and Mesopotamian) dark goddesses I've met once or twice in life's dark alleys. And Hindu dames. And Tibetan Buddhist divas, too, come to think of it. Most people wouldn't suspect it about me, but heck, there's just something about those wailing, bloodthirsty mujeres that strikes a chord, I guess. ;-)

Anyhoo, I sat with the book for an hour or two last night and came away feeling reconnected and inspired. The reviewer from the back cover writes, "This is interdisciplinary scholarship at its finest...ethnography, cultural critique, feminist critique, literary analysis, visual analysis, and popular culture studies...I wanted to read every word of it." I agree.

P.S. In case you're curious about how my beadwork ended up in the book, the answer's easy -- it was on my website, and the author contacted me. Proof that if you put your work out there, nice things can happen. If you don't? Well...they probably won't. ;-) That's all.

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