Zoë Marden
England/Hong Kong

Dedazo Residency, January 2016

I have been developing research on pagan practices and rituals over the
past year. There is a significant community that follow pagan religions here in
London and the rest of Europe and I am interested to discover the similarities
and the differences between Eurocentric and Latin American practices. I am
interested in discovering how these practices have become embedded
within Mexican culture as well as intertwined with Catholicism to create a
patchwork of ideas and beliefs. I am specifically interested in the Mayan
Goddess of the Moon and the symbolism in her representation. She is know to
have a reputation as being a feisty and stubborn which makes me interested
in her potential as a feminist figure.

She is often depicted seated on a crescent moon with a rabbit on her lap
which is similar to the Chinese Goddess of the Moon: Chang’e who sacrificed
herself for her husband by drinking an immortality elixir, floating up to live on
the moon with a rabbit. I was born in Hong Kong and the story of Chang’e
was particularly important to me growing up and the image of her alone on
the moon with her rabbit has always had an impact. I am interested in what
kinds of connections can be drawn between the symbols that overlap in such
different cultures and contexts. I want to explore the impact that these
powerful female historical and religious figures still have on Mexican culture
and tradition today.

My aim would be to get in touch with people who are knowledgeable about
these histories and begin dialogue as well as host interviews. I would also like
to continue my work on building ritualistic sculptures and performances that
often develop into videos. I would like to explore the myths and legends of
the Mayan Moon Goddess such as Ix Chel and ‘La Isla de Mujeres’. I am
interested in if these myths and stories are still part of Mexican culture and
belief systems. I would like to use my time at the Dedazo residency to be
closer to the earth and to nature as it is an important aspect of my research. I
would like to visit and explore the different temples in the region to be able to
connect the dots of my research in a physical sense.