"La Cortesana" Acquired for Permanent Collection
National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago


Linda Vallejo - La Cortesana, 2009
Mixed Media Collage

Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez The National Museum of Mexican Art has acquired "La Cortesana" for its permanent collection. The mixed media collage appears in the exhibition Rastros y Crónicas: Mujeres de Juárez, a chronicle of the struggles of Mexican women and the grievous deaths in Ciudad Juárez, running through February 14.

Artist Statement:

Mexican movies and movie posters often depict the salacious, wonton woman being seduced, or sexually used and abused by the dashing, dominant male. The man watches intently as the woman displays her body, inviting him to pleasure. But the Women of Juarez are not movie stars and they did not invite "men to pleasure." They are young working women that were taken hostage, raped, and killed for perverse and angry pleasure.

Is it possible that media has a place in this grisly story of pain and loss? Can media - movies and movie posters - effect the way that men understand their relationship and responsibilities to women and family?

In Cortesana I have manipulated two Mexican movie posters, adding pictures of the victims, families and protestors, to draw attention to the over-sexualized imagery of Mexican media, the loss of dignity for women, the manipulative nature of seduction, and the aggression and hatred inherent in rape.

Cortesana, a mixed media collage, is placed on a manufactured white shelf indicative of the silence of international media having "shelved" this important issue. This shelf is also reminiscent of classical casket designs and the silence of the headstones on the graves of the victims.

- Linda Vallejo

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