The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the mother of all Mexicans. She is the symbol of the syncretism of indigenous beliefs and the catholic faith. The dancers of the Mexicaneidad and Conchero traditions embody this melding of cultures. They celebrate the mother of Jesus in a ritual that is deeply embedded in a pre-Hispanic worldview.
The symbols of Mexico become even more important when celebrated in a foreign land. The celebration of the mother of all Mexicans is an imperative; otherwise we become orphans. However, just as the Aztecs and other indigenous groups adopted the imposed Spanish culture, Mexican immigrants adopt the culture of their new country, giving rise to new syncretisms. This is a process that is not without its hazards, as the dancers found when one of them was deported for not showing his documents; he was torn apart from his wife and daughter, his new roots in this new land.
The first series of photos were shot in Judson Church, the second in The Church of the Virgen de Guadalupe in New York City. They depict the celebration of the birthday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as she is also known.