71.5 x 50.9 cm (28 1/8 x 20 1/16 in.)
Patricia Ancona Ha
(Pasadena, California, 1954 - , Pasadena, California)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Gilberto Cárdenas, 2017
Inspired by ancient representations of Maya rulers, Patricia Ancona Ha depicted a female figure, seated crossed-legged on an altar or stone dais that is decorated with hieroglyphs in the style of Maya script. Around her body twists a dragon-headed vision serpent, a symbol of communication with deceased ancestors who are summoned for their wise advice. The Maya achieved a hallucinogenic vision of the snake through a ritual process involving fasting and bloodletting. Here, the mysterious quality of the vision is enhanced by the nocturnal setting under the light of a crescent moon. During the 1970s and ’80s, advances in Mesoamerican scholarship facilitated Chicanx artists’ access to the art and culture of the Ancient Americas.