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CAHSS Sponsors “Traitor, Survivor, Icon” at the Denver Art Museum

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College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Press Release  •
Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche
Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), 1940. Oil paint on canvas; 50x40-1/2 in. Phoenix Art Museum: Museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Mexican Art, 1979.86. ©The Alfredo Ramos Martínez Research Project, reproduced by permission.

Denver, Colo.—The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences will sponsor the upcoming Denver Art Museum exhibition “Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche.” The exhibition opens February 2022, and will examine the historical and cultural legacy of female interpreter and cultural translator La Malinche. Reviled as a traitor and hailed as the mother of Mexico, Malinche’s legacy has been the subject of controversy and legend since the 1500s.

Malinche, an enslaved Indigenous girl, became Hernán Cortés’ interpreter and cultural translator. She took center stage, playing a key role in negotiating the transactions and conflicts between the Spanish and Indigenous populations of Mexico. Linguistically gifted, Malinche made contributions that would have a lasting impact on global politics for centuries to come. Additionally, she mothered Cortés’ first-born son, cementing her place in history as the symbolic progenitor of modern Mexico, which was built on Indigenous and Spanish heritage.

“Traitor, Survivor, Icon” represents the first comprehensive visual exploration of Malinche’s history and impact on communities in Mexico and the U.S. The exhibition will include numerous historical publications and works of art that have appropriated her image and legacy to express the artists' own experiences and agendas. “Traitor, Survivor, Icon” will establish and amplify the conversations around female empowerment, Indigeneity and national identity in the Americas that Malinche’s story continues to spark, 500 years after her death.

CAHSS will be holding a number of events for faculty, staff, students and alumni throughout the winter quarter in conjunction with the exhibition. For more information, contact