Search engine giant Google celebrates the 126th birthday of Luz Jiménez, an indigenous Mexican model and Nahuatl-language storyteller and linguistic informant from Milpa Alta, D.F., with a Google Doodle on January 28, 2023. Here are some interesting and fun facts about Luz Jiménez.
Here is a look at the life and work of Luz Jiménez.
20 Interesting Facts about Luz Jiménez
- Luz Jiménez is depicted in numerous works by Mexican artists of the early 20th century.
- She is referred to as “la mujer más pintada de México,” which translates to “the most painted woman of Mexico.”
- Luz Jiménez was born Julia Jiménez González to a Nahua family in Milpa Alta on January 28, 1897.
- She witnessed the Mexican Revolution as a young woman and was there in 1911 when Emiliano Zapata’s revolutionary army entered Milpa Alta.
- One of the few testimonies of Emiliano Zapata speaking Nahuatl is her eyewitness account.
- The Carrancistas killed the majority of Luz’s male relatives when the Mexican Revolution reached her village in 1916.
- Luz Jiménez was 19 when she was forced to leave her hometown and move to Mexico City with her mother and sisters.
- Luz began working as a model for painters, students, photographers, and sculptors in Mexico City’s art scene.
- Luz Jiménez remained relatively unknown and lived in poverty despite the fact that her image began to appear on city monuments and murals.
- Luz was an educator to the painters and muralists; During modeling sessions, she taught the artists Nahuatl, her native language. In turn, the artists infused Luz’s indigenous authenticity into their own style.
- Luz Jiménez gave lectures on her culture and worked as a linguistic informant in the 1930s to document her language.
- She assisted linguists in documenting the Nahuatl language in the 1930s as a linguistic informant. She collaborated with Benjamin Lee Whorf, among others, and he mentions her in his description of Milpa Alta Nahuatl.
- Although Luz Jiménez left behind a number of writings, such as a children’s book and firsthand documentation of the Mexican Revolution, she only signed two of them, both in the Nahuatl newspaper Mexihkatl Itonalama.
- She also worked as a model for Diego Rivera, and her portrait appears in at least three of his murals, including the well-known scene from the Tlatelolco market.
- Luz Jiménez began working as a model at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda” in 1942, where she took Frida Kahlo’s classes.
- She shared her life story with anthropologist Fernando Horcasitas in her later years, and he published it under the title “Life and Death in Milpa Alta.”
- After being struck by a car in Mexico City in 1965, Luz Jiménez died.
- The books she wrote, such as De Porfirio Díaz a Zapata: Memoria náhuatl de Milpa Alta (Life and Death in Milpa Alta: A Nahuatl Chronicle of Diaz and Zapata) and Los Cuentos en Náhuatl de Doña Luz Jiménez (The Tales in Nahuatl of Doña Luz Jiménez).
- Luz Jiménez’s image can still be seen on La Creación (Creation), Fuente de los Cántaros (Fountain of the Jugs), and Cortés y la Malinche (Cortez and Malinche) murals and sculptures in Mexico City.
- On January 28, 2023, Google featured a Google Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Luz Jiménez’s 126th Birthday.