As Mantras go…I am Ladama

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I was raised to be Ladama
in a country where I am glimpsed as whore or servant or one that is put upon by men.
I am neither.
Do not tell me what I look like; my image has been mine for 400 years.
I am the youngest of all people.
I am the ancient. 

Do not tell me what I think,
I have grasped all philosophy, repelled all injustice and kissed all lovers.

I do not wish to look like the others; I do not aspire to feel like all the others…

I by nature re- invent.

-Sylvia H Delgado

*****************

Personally About: I found this reading when I was 19 years old – and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to write it down!  All these years later I have kept these words and they still feel as vital to me now as they did the first time I read them…And every time I read them, I know it is like the chant of a mantra. And although I understand the cultural and feminine context to which the writer, Sylvia Delgado wrote them as an affirmative expression of Latin Women, the themes of struggles with patriarchal domination, achievements of transcendental beauty, individuality,  and courage, of course, are universal – and I feel I too embody those experiences… hence, a mantra for me.

(Image Credit:poster, ‘Mujer (Woman)’ is a portrait of Sylvia H. Delgado representing the Latin woman of the Eighties. It is a collaboration by artist Patssi Valdez. For more info:CLICK HERE or Read below:)

MUJER

ID Number: 12308
Maker: Patssi Valdez; Woman’s Building
Technique: offset
Date Made: 1986
Place Made: United States: California, Los Angeles
Measurements: 56 cm x 43 cm; 22 1/16 in x 16 15/16 in
Main Subject: Women; Chicano/Latino
Materials: glossy paper (fiber product)
Digitized: Y
Full Text:
I was raised to be la dama in a country where I am glimpsed a whore or servant or one that has been put upon her race of men-I am neither. Do not tell me what I look like, my image has been mine for 400 years- I am the youngest of all people, I am the ancient. Do not tell me what I think, I have grasped all philosophy, repelled all injustices and kissed all lovers. I do not wish to look like others, I do not aspire to feel like all the others. I, by nature, re-invent. This poster is part of the Cross Pollination Commissions Project sponsored by the Woman’s Building. It was funded, in part, by the National endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the California Arts Council; the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles; the Atlantis Richfield Foundation; and the National/State/County Partnership, a cooperative program among the L.A. County Music and Performing Arts Commission, the CAC, and the NEA. Printing was partially donated by Hutner Lithography. [signed in ink by Delgado and Valdez]
Acquisition Number: 1991-053
Notes:
“The poster, ‘Mujer (Woman)’ is a portrait of Sylvia H. Delgado representing the Latin woman of the Eighties. It is a collaboration by artist Patssi Valdez, who photographed and designed the poster, and writer Sylvia H. Delgado, who wrote the original poem that runs along the flower stem and modeled for the photograph. ‘We were in agreement that it was high time that Latin women address the negative images and myths propagated by the media and society. By placing a Latin woman in a classical pose we thus shatter existing ideas as to what constitutes beauty and that it is not exclusive to any one race or nationality. In fact, beauty transcends the physical, an idea that is affirmed by the poem that speaks of self-awareness, individuality and art.'” Cross Pollination, the Woman’s Building exhibition catalog, 1986. p. 7. Brochure on the series can be found in Acquisition File 1991-53

 

 

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