Cross of Gold
Exhibitions: Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington DC 1975 Mexican work
Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington DC, 2006, Mexico and Spain
Self-published book at Blurb.com: Cross of Gold.
Cross of gold is an amalgamation of three trips, two in Mexico in 1962 and 1972 and one to Spain in 1985.
I decided to combine photographs from these trips because when I was in one country I kept thinking about the other. In my head the two places became a single landscape. All through Mexico I kept thinking about the remnants Spain left behind in this deeply Indian culture, the churches and cathedrals, shadowy, sometimes in ruin, saints and martyrs depicted with unusual chromatic realism, even the tragi-comic spectacle of the bullfight.
Spain religious yet skeptical; Spain aristocratic yet profoundly
egalitarian; Spain mystical yet disillusioned; Spain
autocratic yet individualistic. Américo Castro
In 1985, on a trip to Andalucia with my friend George Krause, while on the train to Seville for Holy week, passing through cities such as Cordoba and Cadiz, I was surprised how much I was reminded me of Mexico as we slowly crept through the dry ocher-colored landscape. How could Cortes in search of gold and carrying with him the cross, end up in a unknown place halfway around the world that so resembled his native land?
Of course, the coincidence wasn’t deliberate and the Spaniards, in the process of conquering the Aztecs, quickly imprinted Spain on the Indo-Mexican culture bringing all the panoply of Christanity with them, the warrior monks, the cathedrals, the churches, the crosses of gold, and eventually absorbing the people themselves. Most of the present day population of Mexico are mestizos, the result of intermingling between between Spain and Mexico. Left behind as a minority are the original indigenous inhabitants of the country, the Mayans, the Tarascans and others.
An Amazon of buried jaguars, distant song and deepest waltz . . .Pablo Neruda
If I had another life perhaps I would explore in more depth the intermingling of the two countries. These pictures only hint at history as they creep like a slow train through the country of my personal memories.