The performance and video is based on one of the modern versions of the legend of La Llorona (the weeping woman) with an environmental message relating to industrial toxins in the Providence river. This version is told by a young boy, Danny Salazar in Clarissa-Pinkola Estes’ book “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” It goes like this: La Llorona marries a hidalgo, a rich land owner who owns many factories along the river. The water they drink comes from the river polluted by his factories. When she gives birth to twin boys, both are born blind and one with webbed feet. Her husband rejects both her and the children and decides to marry a woman who likes the things that the factory makes. La Llorona decides she must throw the children in the river, because she knows they will otherwise have very difficult lives. She herself dies of grief. When she gets to heaven, the keeper of the gates tells La Llorona that she may come in for she has suffered much, but first she must find her children. To this day she walks along the riverbanks searching for them through the murky waters. And, to this day, children are warned not to play near the river at night, lest she mistakes them for her children.
The River Within/El Rio Desde Adentro: La Llorona performance
reed canoe on Providence River, Providence, Rhode Island, US, in performance video LaLlorona exhibited at the Sol Koffler Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design
La Llorona on Bridge Tressel Searching for Her Children
As La Llorona, I walked up and down the Woonasquatucket River, a tributary of the Providence River, searching for my children as the legend goes, embarking a Peruvian reed canoe, finding their toys floating in the river, and placing a wreath dedicated to their death in the toxic waters.
The River Within/El Rio Desde Adentro: La Llorona exhibition
Grocery cart, tire, wood pallet, miscellaneous trash from Woonasquatucket River found by La Llorona: relics from LaLlorona performance
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