A Mythical Latin American Portrait Gallery:
Rosario Marquardt
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La Malinche, 1992 
Oil pastel on paper, 17" x "23" 
Collection of the artist 

Daughter of Aztec lords, she was first given away in order to facilitate her stepbrother's accession to the lordship, and then given away once again when she was fifteen years old, as a present to the Spainards.  She mastered the Mayan and Aztec languages, and in only a few months she learned to speak perfect Castillian.  She became the figure in whom all communication between the opposed cultures was concentrated.  LaMalinche was a crucial fiture in the conquest of New Spain.  Historian Stephen Greenblatt interprets her role, writing that "Cortes understood next to nothing about the comples culture which he had violently penetrated, and everything he could hope to learn, beyond the enigmatic and opaque visual evidence, had to be conveyed through Dona Marina (La Malinche)." 

Not only did she play a critical historical role, but author Octavio Paz explains that she persists in the collective Mexican memory: "... the strange permanence of Cortes and La Malinche in the Mexican's imagination and sensibility reveals that they are more than historical higures: they are symbols of a sectret conflict that we have still not resolved."

appendx inc.©1997