Alfredo Arreguín


See a documentary film about the artist on the Seattle Channel.


By the year 1993, I had already painted oils of some of my favorite Mexican icons, including: Hidalgo, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Zapata, and Frida Kahlo. In the month of May of this year, I started creating the image of a fascinating Indian woman, La Malinche. Dona Marina, as the Spanish called her, knew the language of the Mayans, as well as Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. La Malinche had been given to the Spaniards as a present, and later on, became Cortes’ mistress and translator. Many Mexicans believe that her role as translator played an important part in the Cortes’ conquest of Tenochtitlan. La Malinche lives in the Mexican vocabulary; A Malinchista is “one who sells out country or friends, who consorts with foreigners, and bestows favors on them at the expense of his countrymen.”

La Malinche that was appearing in my canvas, was that of a woman dressed in regal attire and wearing a white European mask, and a brown Mestizo mask. As a mistress, La Malinche bore Cortes a son, Martin Cortes, the first Mestizo child. It is estimated that Spanish blood runs in the veins of most modern Mexicans. It is a Mestizo country, and the symbol of the mother of modern Mexico is La Malinche! In the background of my painting, appears the image of the God of fertility, Tlaloc. The God of water and rain, Tlaloc is at peace with La Malinche. I hope her apparition on my canvas transcends the negativism against her, and that future generations will celebrate her as our mom. Que viva La Malinche, Nuestra Madre!