WHAT IS AZTLÁN? WHERE IS AZTLÁN?

Updated: Apr 8


FLORES DE AZTLÁN (Limited Edition Print sold at: Art Shop)

This image is one of my most popular. The original is a 3 x 4 foot oil painting and was published (along with two of my other images) in an important anthology about Hispanic artists in the mid to late 20th century--see "About" page. It is available here as an archival limited edition print. Please enjoy my story about this piece:


Aztlán is mythical place of Aztec folklore...a homeland for Chicanos (Hispanics) that encompasses much of what was once Mexico before the gold rush. In this painting, the trail of flowers includes Mexico's national flower, the dahlia. Each other flower represents a state within the United States…a state that was once Mexico: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. But this is not just a pretty painting of flowers. Look closer at the geography, history, and hope. For instance, the structure at the bottom left, the fetus, that the glowing sun is full almost on fire.


The structure, the Castle of Chapultepec, was the location of one of the final battles of the Mexican American War which ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed on February 2, 1848, just nine days after the discovery of gold in California. With Chapultepec under their control, the Americans were able to storm two of the city gates and by nightfall were in tentative control of nearby Mexico City. The Americans captured Chapultepec. Some of the Mexican soldiers were as young as 10 years old. One young cadet wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death to keep it from being claimed by the Americans. Many others also jumped rather than surrendering. This love of country is a source of great pride for those of Mexican heritage.

The unborn child symbolizes that the Mexican people will not disappear from their land and like the flowers, will grow and flourish under the nurturing light of the fiery Southwestern sun. The growth of my own family was on my mind as I was creating this painting, with my first granddaughter and a niece expected to come into this world within a few months. Our beautiful people are still here, on their land because we are strong, smart, and (as American keeps discovering) essential.

List of Flowers:

Mexico (Dalia),

Arizona (Saguaro Cactus),

California (Poppy),

Colorado (Columbine),

Nevada (Sagebrush...Unofficial),

New Mexico (Yucca Flower),

Texas (Bluebonnet),

Utah (Quebec...Mariposa), and

Wyoming (Indian Paintbrush).




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