Traitor, Survivor, Icon

The Legacy of La Malinche

Alfredo Arreguín, La Malinche (con Tlaloc) (Malinche with Tlaloc), 1993. Oil paint on canvas; 48 × 36 in. (122 × 91.4 cm). The Keller Family. © Alfredo Arreguin, image courtesy Rob Vinnedge Photo.

Antonio Ruíz, El sueño de la Malinche (Malinche’s dream), 1939. Oil paint on Masonite (engineered wood); 11 7/8 × 15 3/4 in. (30 × 40 cm). Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City. © Archivo Antonio Ruíz. Image © and courtesy Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), 1940. Oil paint on canvas; 50 x 40 1/2 in. (127 x 103 cm). Phoenix Art Museum: Museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Mexican Art, 1979.86. ©The Alfredo Ramos Martínez Research Project, reproduced by permission.

Mercedes Gertz, Guadinche, 2012. Digital image printed on polyester; 71 × 43 3/10 in. (180 × 110 cm). Courtesy of the artist. © Mercedes Gertz.

María Cristina Tavera, La Malinche Conquistada, 2015. Screen print; 26 1/8 × 26 1/8 in. (66.4 × 66.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist. © Maria Cristina Tavera. Photo by Xavier Tavera.

Cecilia Álvarez, La Malinche Tenía Sus Razones (La Malinche had her reasons), 1995. Acrylic paint on amate paper; 34-1/2 x 27 in. Courtesy of the artist. © Cecilia Concepción Álvarez.

Delilah Montoya, La Malinche, 1993. Collotype; 21-1/2 x 17 x 1-1/4 in. The Abarca Family Collection. ©Delilah Montoya. Photography courtesy Denver Art Museum.

Unknown artist, Mexico, Spaniards on the march to Tenochtitlan, Codex Azcatitlan. 16th century. Ink on amate paper; 8 1/4 × 11 in. (21 × 27.9 cm). Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. Image courtesy BnF.

Leslie Tillett, Tapestry of the Conquest of Mexico, 1965-1977. Hand embroidered silk on cotton cloth (manta); 28 in. x 100 ft. Denver Art Museum: Partial gift of the Tillett family; partial purchase with generous funds from Merle Chambers: In Memory of Evelyn Hemmings Chambers; Alianza de las Artes Americanas; Theodore and Nancie Burkett; Mexican Society of Philadelphia; Ralph L. & Florence R. Burgess Trust; Florence R. & Ralph L. Burgess Trust; Jana and Fred Bartlit; Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation; bequest of Jacqueline Paley Wolber by exchange; and anonymous donors, 2018.303. © Estate of Leslie Tillett.


Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche is the first major visual and cultural exploration of the legacy of La Malinche, simultaneously reviled as a traitor to her people and hailed as the mother of Mexico. This lavish book establishes and examines her symbolic import and the ways in which artists, scholars, and activists through time have appropriated her image to interpret and express their own experiences and agendas from the 1500s through today.

The catalog and many others are available to purchase at the DAM's Shop or online.

Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche is organized by the Denver Art Museum.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Additional funding is provided by University of Denver: College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS4. Special thanks to the National Institute of Anthropology and History and Mexico’s Secretary of Culture.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.