Universes in Universe

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María Isabel Rueda

La llorona: El río debajo del río (The crying woman: The river under the river). 2013
Ink on paper (detail)
The illustrations on the reverse of the guide are by María Isabel Rueda. The series is loosely based on the story of La Llorona (The crying woman), a popular myth that appears throughout Latin America. Despite regional variations, the basic elements remain the same: a woman murders her children in revenge for her husband’s abuse; despairing, she begins to cry uncontrollably and a river forms from her very tears. Indigenous groups, settlers, and immigrants in countries stretching from Argentina to Mexico have modified certain details, yet the figure of nature in mourning remains intact. María Isabel Rueda created her own version of this disturbing myth for a book titled La Llorona, from a series of publications about Colombian myths published by La Silueta Ediciones. In the drawings for the book, Rueda merged images of the Arhuacos (Ika), an indigenous culture of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia, the fauna and flora of that region, and the process of weaving mochilas, the bags the Arhuacos traditionally used to carry coca leaves, with the Gothic imagery that characterizes her drawings, photography, and video works.


© Photo: Courtesy of Bard Graduate Center Gallery


The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture. Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, 24 June - 27 Sept. 2015. Curator: José Roca, with Alejandro Martín.

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