TO MAIN ART GALLERY
Who Wears Bells on Her Cheeks"
1993. Chalk pastel on paper.
2 1/2 x 5 1/2 ft.
life-sized chalk pastel portrait depicts a Chicana
street musician holding a pair of colorfully painted
gourd maracas and a picture of the Aztec moon goddess,
(pronounced Coh-yohl-shau'-kee). I was inspired to
create my drawing after walking one afternoon through
Los Angeles' historic MacArthur Park, where I encountered
a Mexican Folk Dance group entertaining the people.
worked for six months creating my artwork on a large
sheet of German printmaking paper. Drawing directly
with pigment rich Sennelier soft chalk pastels, I
also used a variety of tools like rags, q-tips, and
even my fingers to accomplish certain effects. I wore
a disposable particle mask the entire time as the
soft texture of the pastel created a lot of chalk
dust; hence, after each work session I would use a
1978 electrical workers excavating below street level
in Mexico City found an enormous circular monolith
carved from volcanic stone that depicted the moon
goddess. The carving measured some 11 feet in diameter,
nearly 12 inches thick, and weighed 8.5 tons.
Aztec pictographs showed the Coyalxauhqui stone to
be located at the base of the Templo Mayor, or Great
Temple. It was immediately understood by archeologists
that finding the stone meant they had at last found
the Sacred Precinct at the very center of the Aztec
capital of Tenochtitlan.
was one of the primary deities of the ancient Aztecs,
or Mexica (Meh-sheeh-kah) as they called themselves.
Loosely translated from the Aztec language of Nahuatl
into English, the name of the goddess means "She
Who Wears Bells on Her Cheeks."
The discovery led to the excavation of the entire
area from 1978 to 1982, which unearthed a treasure
trove of over 7,000 objets d'art and revealed hidden
histories of the Aztec Empire. In 1987 the Templo
Mayor Museum was built on site to house these amazing
artifacts, including a stunning display of the Coyalxauhqui
the early 1990's I visited the Templo Mayor Museum,
which I consider to be one of the best museums in
the world. The Coyalxauhqui stone is a masterwork,
and arguably one of the greatest of all Aztec/Mexica
Coyalxauhqui stone has become iconic in modern Mexico,
its representation has even been printed on Mexican
money. By extension it has become a symbol of Mexican