Drawing for Southwest Pieta
Luis Jiménez
Death Cart
Luis Tapia
Cocina Jaiteca
Larry Yañez
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Pedro Antonio Fresquís
Anima (Alma/Soul)
Ana Mendieta
Sueño (Dream: Eve before Adam)
Alfredo Arreguín
Mis Hermanos
Jesse Treviño
Granite Weaving
Jesús Bautista Moroles
Sun Mad
Ester Hernández
Farm Workers' Altar
Emanuel Martínez
Somos la Luz
Charles "Chaz" Bojórquez
The Protagonist of an Endless Story
Angel Rodríguez-Díaz

Death Cart
Luis Tapia

Luis Tapia lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He taught himself to make santos (painted or carved devotional images of saints) by studying retablos (two-dimensional objects of saints) and bultos (three-dimensional images of saints) in churches and in the collection of the nearby Museum of International Folk Art. Although Tapia works in the styles of both early pre-revivalist and Cordova santeros (artists who make images of saints), he often deviates from the typical imagery of other New Mexican saint makers. His sculpture Death Cart, for example, departs from tradition in many respects. Usually El Ángel de la Muerte (the angel of death) is depicted as the skeleton of a woman sometimes riding in a cart and carrying a hatchet, club, or bow and arrow. Luis’s angel of death carries nothing. Her tongue extends from a cavernous jaw with real teeth, and her skeletal eye sockets dance with the glitter of their mica inserts. She even sports a ponytail of real hair.

The more recent origins of Luis’s Death Cart can be traced to the Penitente sect of Catholicism, which developed in the remote hill towns of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, in the absence of priests to maintain standard rituals. Carts are still dragged through the streets by Penitente members during Holy Week to remind the faithful of their mortality. As the carved wooden skeletons rattle along the roads, participants see that death is always just a few steps behind.