From the Pyrenees to Patagonia
An emblematic history of conquest and resistance in the Spanish speaking world. 1992
Located on the third floor of Walker Hall at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon
DEDICATION STATEMENT: That mastery of the eloquence and grace of the Spanish language might afford Linfield students and all who enter here a world enlarged by the rich, diverse, and vibrant legacy of European, indigenous, and mestizo peoples.
This mural, concerning the Hispanic/Latin American world, is not intended as a historic account per se, and against all temptation is not intended as an invective about the military, cultural, and spiritual atrocity of the Conquest. However, in dealing with the theme of Hispanic culture one is inevitably enmeshed in issues still fraught with fresh feelings and divergent opinion concerning, among other issues, the role of the Church in the Conquest and the mixed identity of mestizo and indigenous Latin Americans 500 years hence.
I suppose there is much to criticize in a mural of this nature. The theme is so large that inevitably material is presented in a superficial or symbolic manner, or is omitted entirely. As has been the fate of muralists of all time, I accept a certain vulnerability to public opinion. The ongoing polemic with my colleagues concerning aspects of the Conquest and its aftermath is providing a rare intellectual pleasure, as well as an escape from my own subjectivity. The process of composing the mural requires the intellectual and artistic integration of a passion I have nurtured through many years of travel in the Hispanic world.
I intend the mural to be basically a study of comparative iconography and its morphology, as well as a collection of figurative conventions. It is my hope that this mural might inspire respect and a sense of artistic and cultural depth and complexity. I have sought iconographic and pictorial references that show certain image similarities, though of course cultural significance is often dissimilar or actually antithetical, such as the image of the serpent as the central image of rebirth and renewal in the Americas, whereas it is the devil in the flesh within the Christian traditions (small wonder they misunderstood each other so completely). Such rank misunderstanding of iconography is, therefore, a subtext in my thinking.