Martine Gutierrez's "Demons" and the Queer Latinx Experience

Xochiquetzal, Flower Quetzal Feather

The final deity that Gutierrez transforms herself into is Xochiquetzal, an Aztec goddess of fertility, beauty, and female sexuality. The mother of Quetzalcoatl, the most well known of all Mesoamerican deities, she was often a patron of concubines and other female slaves who would worship her devoutly. As the twin of the first deity in the series Xochipilli, she has similar influence over beauty, the arts, and the natural world.

In this final image, Gutierrez departs from her previous works dealing with themes such as queerness and non-heterosexuality and focuses on her identity as a female and an artist. Adorned with colorful yarn pom-poms, Gutierrez’s Xochiquetzal emphasizes the goddess’ role as a patron of arts and crafts. Xochiquetzal was particularly known to be the patron of weaving and embroidery. Those who would complete such tasks were generally female slaves, specifically concubines who were past their sexual prime. 

These women were forced to cater their sexuality to men in positions of authority, but Gutierrez’s portrayal of Xochiquetzal reverses this trope. Gutierrez’s body in the photo is shown significantly less than that in much of her other work. Just as her other pieces are often her way of laying claim to her body and its portrayal, this portrait is in direct defiance to those who would want to tell her how to style or present herself.


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