Tonatiuh the Fifth Sun, mixed media
Mixed Media on canvas
24" x 32"
Tonatiuh is the current sun god, ruler of Tollan, heaven, and he requires blood sacrifices and human hearts. I depicted this deity with facial expressions of rage and hunger to convey how bloodshed has been inherent to human, Aztec, and Mexican history. As the sun, he is fighting off the darkness of night with his golden beams as a representation of our struggle to overcome our impulse to wage war. I was motivated to create this painting to depict the violent history of Mexico that has been in conflict for centuries and to illustrate the multigenerational trauma that lives in our society and people. The Aztecs conquered neighboring tribes, the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and led genocide against Indigenous people, Mexico fought for its independence against Spain, and since then Mexican people have been at war for land, resources, and rights. Now, cartels are causing mass political, economic, social, and environmental turmoil in a drug that feeds Western demand. Aztec mythology would posit that Tonatiuh is still alive, and we still exist because of all of the bloodshed that continues to occur.