Phantom Limb, Chapter 1: The Relic
works by El Coyote Cojo (Adela Goldbard, Emilio Rojas, Matias Armendaris)
16 December 2016 - 21 January 2017
Phantom Limb, Chapter 1: The Relic opens a re-examination of the complexities and myths surrounding the infamous Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his prosthetic leg. Mexico's most polemic politician and general, Santa Anna is often blamed for losing half of the country's territory to the United States in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).
During the war, Santa Anna's prosthetic leg was also captured by an Illinois infantry as he fled from American troops at Cerro Gordo.
Using the phantom limb as a metaphor for the lost territory, El Coyote Cojo's project analyzes how historical and military narratives have been interpreted, used and abused by both Mexico and the U.S.
Absorbing new meaning as a trophy of war, the prosthetic leg comes to resemble a religious relic that must be conserved, guarded, retained or reclaimed -- while also fueling glorified nationalism in both countries.
Framed by the current political tensions around the U.S.-Mexico border, the proposed wall, immigration and deportation, El Coyote Cojo interrogates the veracity of these historical documents and actors, as well as how the narratives constructed around them continue to resonate in contemporary questions of identity, territory and power in U.S.-Mexico relations.