31 August 2009

A Bit of History Picked Up Along the Way

Maga has pointed out to me that the year 2010 will be a significant year for México. It will be the bicentennial of Mexican independence from Spain won in 1810. It will also be the centennial of the Revolution of 1910. I have been obtaining a far better grasp now of the broad significance of the Revolution than I ever did while accumulating three semester hours of B in Latin American History at the University of Iowa in the fall semester of 1968. And what a flat out great story with Emiliano Zapata fighting in the south and Pancho Villa in the north!


However, an aspect of the importance of the Revolution other than the strictly political was the sea change in Mexican art. After the Revolution President Obregón determined that at long last the Indian must be incorporated into Mexican society. In part he determined to accomplish this through the arts as well as education. During the long régime of that corrupt, right-wing bozo, Porfirio Diaz, prior to the Revolution, Mexican art continued to be a watered down imitation of Spanish and French art.


Obregón in his wisdom determined that Indian art, long regarded as primitive crap, must become Mexican art. He offered substantial government support to artists who could effect this transformation of Indian art from low culture to high. The three artists who moved to the forefront of this movement were David Alfaro Sequeiros, José Clemente Orozco, and the very famous Diego Rivera, Saint Frida Kahlo's chronically errant husband. All of them were masters of the mural. In their own way these three men were every bit as heroic as Zapata and Villa.

Proletarian Victim by Siqueiros

Okay. I was not quite done with the Indians after all.

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