Santa Fe, New Mexico native
"La Conquistadora/Unveiling the History of Santa Fe's Six Hundred Year Old Religious Icon"
Contact: Jaima Chevalier at (505) 988-4418
Jaima Chevalier is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with
deep ties to her home state. After the extraordinary circumstance of
spending the first years of her life in the basement of New Mexico's
Laboratory of Anthropolgy, where her writer-father worked as a
janitor, her family moved to the ranch outside of Santa Fe where she
now raises her two children.
Chevalier's new work is "La Conquistadora/Unveiling the
History of Santa Fe's Six Hundred Year Old Religious Icon" fuses
recent scientific discoveries with the stories and legends that
comprise La Conquistadora's incredible mythology, creating a lyrical
meditation that resonates with history throughout the centuries and
across two continents and embracing Santa Fe as a crossroads of
Few religious icons dominate and inspire their subjects as powerfully
as La Conquistadora, America's oldest Madonna, has over the centuries.
Don Diego de Vargas carried her image as a message of piece and
reconciliation when the Spanish returned to Santa Fe after the Pueblo
Revolt of 1680. In frontier times, a well-known local madam was
especially devoted to La Conquistadora. In modern times, her fame has
reached throughout the world, while her local devotional society has
provided a link between the very rich and the very poor in Santa Fe,
even as it served as a power base for city and state politics. While
maintaining her place in the hearts of Santa Feans, La Conquistadora
has also taken the throne at the heart of the ancient city's history,
and she has the scars to prove it.
With features sometimes called "Palestinian" and startling blue eyes,
La Conquistadora's origins are shrouded in mystery, but Chevalier
unveils surprising new information about this icon's amazing
provenance and past. A never-before-seen x-ray suggest the
transformations La Conquistadora has undergone, while material from
the journals of one of her most loyal devotees recalls the tense weeks
of her 1973 kidnapping. Finally, Chevalier discovers the key to the
long-standing mystery surrounding the wood used to craft the statue.