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[Westword] The Ten Biggest Denver Culture Stories of 2022

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Malinalli vs. Malinche

While 2021 featured two dueling van Gogh immersive exhibitions, 2022 saw two exhibits on the historic figure La Malinche, a Nahua woman who was enslaved by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés to be his interpreter, as well as the mother of his children. The first, Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche, debuted at the Denver Art Museum with more than sixty works of art spanning five centuries, including 21 by contemporary Chicano artists, to exemplify how Malinche's story has shifted through the years; the DAM also partnered with the Latino Cultural Arts Center to showcase an old tapestry depicting Malinche's story with Malintzin: Unraveled and Rewoven at Next Stage Gallery. But Maruca Salazar, former director of Museo de Las Americas, had learned of the DAM's plans early on and was disappointed that more space wasn't being given to current Chicano artists — so she came out of retirement to mount a show in response at the Museo, this time using Malinche's Indigenous name, Malinalli. Malinalli on the Rocks opened at the Museo in March, just a month after La Malinche, and displayed works from local Chicano artists in a myriad of mediums, including a piece by Alicia Cardenas, to whom the show was dedicated.

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