Katelyn Stanoch, a junior at Augsburg College, painted a mural for her final project of the Social Work in a Latin American Context program this Spring. At the end of each program, students are required to complete a final project which will be presented in some way upon their return to their communities in the States. Most students choose to do a creative project like a mural, video, newpaper article or poetry, and Katelyn used her artistic abilities to make the living room in one of the CGE houses here in Cuernavaca even more lively and meaningful.
The mural is of a tree with twisting branches and falling foliage, and next to the tree is a poem that is an ancient Nahua poem (below). When asked about her mural, Katelyn said, To me my mural represents a sense of sorrow yet the presence of strength. The poem is about searching for peace and a place to be free from whatever it is that is not positive in life and the strength it takes to keep moving forward. This subject of suffering related to the oppression of the people of Mexico. More specifically related to drug violence, domestic violence, and the effects and causes of migration. The strength I feel that allows the people to move on in times of hardship which in the mural is represented by the tree that looks aged and twisted but yet is still standing strong. The mural represents suffering yet a strength that allows those to keep pushing through."
The poem Xochicuicatl, or A Flower song, was originally written in the native Nahuatl language.
In the place of tears, I the singer, watch my flowers; they are in my hand; they intoxicate my soul and my song, as I walk alone with them, with my sad soul among them.
In this spot, where the herbage is like sweet ointment and green as the turquoise and emerald, I think upon my song, holding the beauteous flowers in my hand
In this spot of turquoise and emerald, I think upon beauteous songs, beauteous flowers; let us rejoice now, dear friends and children, for life is not long upon earth.
I shall hasten forth, I shall go to the sweet songs, the sweet flowers, dear friends and children
O he! I cried aloud; O he! I rained down flowers as I left.
Let us go forth anywhere; I the singer shall find and bring forth the flowers; let us be glad while we live; listen to my song.
I the poet cry out a song for a place of joy, a glorious song which descends to Mictlan, and there turns about and comes forth again.
I seek neither vestment nor riches, O children, but a song for a place of joy