Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On Visiting the Aztecas

Meeting the Aztecas

On Ash Wednesday I didn’t go to church. I didn’t ask for forgiveness or promise to give up anything. I woke up and dressed early and my mother and I snuck off to the Guggenheim to see the Aztec exhibit before it closed on the weekend. I say snuck off because my sister was home sleeping in since she had the day off because of Chinese New Year.

Overall the exhibit was very moving. Many of the objects on display, pieces of holy temples and everyday objects, I had seen before in catalogs and books. My mother recognized much from her own trips to Mexico when she was still married to my father.
I was disappointed with the curation (?) of the exhibit. Everything was organized chronologically up through the Spanish invasion of Cortez but the information was stuff that I pretty much knew already.

I was also annoyed with the amount of people there. There were many school groups. Many of the students were more excited to test the acoustics of the museum by yelling down from the circular floors down to classmates below them. It was exciting to see some school groups, of elementary students, mostly Mexican and Central American discuss their ancestry through what was displayed. The museum did have some excellent people working with these children. I wish I knew what those students were thinking, feeling. The busloads of elderly white tourists also annoyed the hell out of me. Some of the old men tried to flirt with my and strike up conversations. I overheard one woman look at a sculpture and comment, “That reminds me of Rodin”.

The following are impressions that I wrote as waves of emotion from sadness to anger weaved through me.

Meeting with the Aztecs

I wasn’t expecting my visit to feel like a funeral.
I wasn’t expecting your current resting place to feel like a cemetery.
I usually don’t pay a twenty-three dollar admission fee to mourn,
To relive my being conquered,
through someone else being conquered.
I didn’t know I would stand before these treasures,
These spoils,
And break down and cry.

Grief transformed into greed.
I wanted to experience this alone,
To bear witness alone.
I wanted to shoo away the tourists and busloads of elderly.
I wanted to hoard my emotions before they could be taken away from me

I will add more as I review my notes from the day.


Blogger Ms Cherry Galette said...

oh, i meant to go and see this. but i would have mourned and come away terribly, terribly heartbroken too...

2/16/2005 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger nehanda said...

wow..two semisters ago, i took a heritage of mexico was amazing and such an eye opener..i felt the contious thread that carried we people(s) originally birthed from the cradle of life..seeing the artifacts of the olemacs, listening about easter island masks, stuff until then, i had never heard about..shock me, made me cry, sometimes,made me mad & overall, i felt very proud..that we still arise, irregardless.

2/23/2005 01:43:00 AM  

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