Patricia Marroquin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My work consistently analyzes my Chicana/Tarascan Indian/Apache background and what that means to me on political, social and, most importantly, spiritual levels. Although I grew up in the Midwest, the spirit of the Southwest and Mexico is constantly with me because of the oral history and traditions I was raised with. Today, being a Chicana artist is incredibly complex. Not only do we have to break through stereotypes imposed on us by other cultures, historians, and academics, we have to dismantle, rebuild, and redefine being Chicana as a result of restrictive attitudes left unresolved throughout el movimiento. Doing this while honoring all that our parents and grandparents struggled for is a constant balancing act.

Family Medicine

Family Medicine is a tangible reconnection with my family’s Mexican Indian history. I grew up with the stores of my great grandmother, a Tarascan Indian curandera from Michoacan, and how she used leaves, herbs, and animal fat in her medicinal practice.

In elementary school, here in the States, we were asked to write an essay about our personal hero. Being very naïve to the level of racism of my primarily white middle-class educational background, I chose to write about my great grandmother and went into great detail about her being a medicine woman and healer. Afterward the students expressed shock and horror about the fact that she used animal fat and leaves to cure the sick. Since that experience I tried desperately to hide my Indian background and only recently, with the birth of my son, re-embraced my family’s culture. There’s something about having and raising a family that makes you proud of who you are, especially for Chicanos and Mexicanos.

In creating the Family Medicine series I was attempting to communicate the sacredness and spiritual animation of everyday objects such as leaves, trees, water, or dirt, because for me it’s all so beautiful. As I was making the prints, however, I began to realize the power of the imagery chosen mixed with the natural quality of the leaves and could see how political and cultural issues could be read into them, but that was o.k. and even appropriate. In that sense, Family Medicine became a healing project personally, professionally and socially, and turned out to be medicinal on many levels.