The legend of La Llorona is a Mexican legend, but I grew up with it in my Filipino household in London. It tells of an indiginous woman who has children by a Spanish conquistador. One stories says she caught him with another woman, another that he was planning to take her children to be raised by a more suitable woman. In the story she drowns her children and then herself in a river. Her spirit can still be heard weeping for her lost children near rivers in Mexico.
Many legends, of course, have some basis in fact. Rape has been used as a weapon of war for centuries, and women who conceive children as a result are often ostracised (or worse) by their own communities. Could this be the source of the story of La Llorona?
As a person of mixed heritage (Filipino, Mexican and Spanish), I walk an uncomfortable line as a descendant of colonisers and colonised. As a descendant of indiginous Filipinos, should I deny my Spanish heritage? I don't believe I should and I try to embrace my whole heritage, but it can be very uncomfortable.
La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)
Acrylic on canvass
60cm x 80cm