THE NAVEL OF THE MOON
Photographs of Mexico by Enrique Samson
The most widely accepted etymology for the Aztec word “Mexico” is “the site at the navel of the moon.” The transliteration is an attempt to encapsulate an Indian myth that delves into rich philosophical, religious and political intricacies—much like the nation the genesis of which it chronicles. I borrowed the name to title the series because Mexico to me has become precisely that: a complex and captivating land that I regretfully used to take for granted. This body of work is an ongoing, personal exploration of the cultural complexities of Mexico as viewed through the lens of one of its expatriate sons currently living in the U.S.
Mexican national values are rooted in unceasing juxtapositions like those of ancestral tradition and modernity, the temporal and the supernatural, the Native American and the European, good and evil… circumstances that coexist, collaborate and explode in a spectacle that often appears surreal to the nonnative eye. The series was thus born from my conscious desire to document and share the intricate weave of Mexican culture in the modern tradition of “magical realism.” In the process, the images gradually surprised me by unveiling a deeper subconscious value as intimate and personal meditations about the places, people and feelings to which I have in the past remained oblivious due to my overfamiliarity with them.