Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"Nopal En La Frente"
"Nopal En La Frente" (Cactus on Your Forehead), is a clay mask about 12" high, which is inspired by an old Mexican phrase mocking those who go around pretending they are not Mexican. It is not uncommon for Mexicans in the U.S. to deny their nationality, avoid speaking Spanish, and even to change their names! Thus, Consuelo becomes "Connie", Jose becomes "Joe" and Pedro becomes "Pete". When a Mexican denies his language and culture, trying to pass himself on as "American" or some other nationality, due to a desire "to get ahead" in Anglo society, people say: "Miralo, se cree muy Americano pero trae un nopal en la frente!" It is a way of saying a Mexican can never fool anybody into thinking he or she is not Mexican or "A Tiger can never change his stripes!" The "cactus" (symbolizing Mexican culture) on his forehead is a firebrand, a permanent mark that cannot be so easily be removed.