During the 1920s and 30s, Mickey Mouse was a reckless, womanising, singing and dancing show-off, which are the aspects of the iconic Disney character that Ortega focuses on in Mouse. Fascinated by the sanitisation and and neutralisation of Mickey Mouse over the last 80 years, Ortega explores Mickey's original macho personality through photos played out like comic books. Ortega argues that heroic mythologies have normally been associated with racially dominant groups, interesting when considering that Mickey Mouse was originally shown with stereotypical attitudes of African and Hispanic minorities but his morals became more acceptable the more heroic he became. Looking like a kind of industrial film noir, Ortega has cast himself in the role of Mouse and reveals his own experience - that of the Mexican/Mayan migrant, and his gradual "purification" in an environment of white western tradition.
Image: Maurice Ortega, installation view, 2009.