MURALISTS GET POLITICAL IN MÉXICO DF

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The streets of Mexico City are jam packed with street art, everything from messy tags to stencil work to wacky sculptures to large and bold murals.  Of course Mexico has a long and proud history of muralism exemplified especially by the ´big three´ Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.  During the first few months of this year a number of large murals with political messages have appeared.  This is in the wake of the disappearance of 43 rural teaching students which led to mass protests in Mexico City and across the country.  The state is widely thought to be implicated in the crime and calls for president Peña Nieto to resign continue.  Below are three political murals that I have come across in the last few months.  (all photos are mine)

The mural below, very close to the Juanacatlan metro station on the pink line, is by Ciler.  The mural inverts the symbolic image of an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a cactus, seen on Mexico´s coat of arms and national flag.  Legend has it that the Mexica people saw this scene and interpreted it as a sign to cease their wanderings and construct their city Tenochtitlan, today Mexico City.  The image should represent a proud and strong nation.  Instead, Ciler´s mural warps the iconic image to show the nation in a state of putrefaction, a view shared by many.

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  This mural is by Italian artist Blu.  It can be found just to the north of Mexico City´s historic centre where eje central meets Paseo de la Reforma.  Once again it represents a warping or distortion (albeit one that reflects a sad reality) of Mexican national iconography, in this case the flag.  Greed for the greenback through the trafficking of Colombia´s or Peru´s or Bolivia´s snow white finest have left pools of blood that no amount of soldiers has been able to stop.

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Finally, this mural by ericailcane can be found on Calle Bolivar in the downtown.  Here the big cat can be interpreted as the state perhaps as personified by the federal police who were allegedly implicated in the disappearance of the 43 students in Guerrero while the innocent and feeble rabbits represent the students.  This article translated into English from Laura Castellano´s article in the magazine Proceso explores this scenario.

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