I learned how, since 2011, she has resisted the imposition of a multinational mining company that has repeatedly and violently attempted to remove her from her home. I learned how she committed to protecting the Laguna Azul de Cajamarca, the lake on her land that the mining company would effectively destroy if not for her resistance.
Her courage and resilience moved me and inspired the two pieces I made in her honor. This first piece was painted with the reference of a photo taken by the Goldman Environmental Prize. To me, she represents the resistance born out of a deep love and connection with the Earth, a love and connection that indigenous peoples around the world are literally dying to preserve.
This first piece with Doña Máxima’s words (translated into English), “I am not afraid of the power of the [mining] companies, I will keep fighting,” speak to her courage and resilience, and the image depicts the strength in her spirit.
Fear is an experience that we all have. Especially as we witness the ever growing power of transnational corporations, it is only natural to fear great repression. And yet, Doña Máxima is an example of the strength and resilience born out of love that can overcome that fear. If Doña Máxima could find the courage to stand up against a corporation that was determined to literally rob her of everything she held dear, why can't we? What would it take for each one of us to find that courage?
As our common fight for environmental justice grows more dire everyday, I believe the words and image of Doña Máxima can offer us strength and courage to find our way.
Learn more about the Goldman Environmental Prize: http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/maxima-acuna/