In this season of Advent...of waiting...of hoping, of COMING.... I had the privilege to paint this scene depicting Juan Diego (an indigenous American) presenting an image of the Virgin of Guadelupe (Mary coming to the Americas in the form of an indigenous woman). This apparition is said to have occurred only ten years after the conquest of Mexico by Spain. Notice how Juan Diego is looking toward the lighter skinned, crowned woman to the right (possibly representing Spain and the European Crown) and the Virgin gazes at the darker skinned indigenous person on the left. Taken as a whole, this image seems to tell the story of Guadelupe's raison d'etre...namely to blend cultures racially and religiously, the first 'mestiza' or 'the first Mexican' bringing together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness. Still, today we live in a time of waiting...we have dark-skinned Americans among us who are 'coming' and 'waiting'. They are experts at HOPING and waiting.