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This article records important comments made by the Frente Nacional de Artes Plásticas (FNAP) [National Front for the Visual Arts] about Arte mexicano desde el precolombino hasta nuestros días [Mexican Art from the Pre-Columbian Era Until the Present], the exhibition that had recently opened in Paris and would subsequently travel to Stockholm and London. Members of the FNAP agree that the event represented an impressive effort by the Mexican government, however, they deplored the discrimination shown toward Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace], the mural that the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) [National Institute of Fine Arts] commissioned from Diego Rivera. The FNAP claimed that both the president of Mexico and the representatives of INBA had committed an attack of “a clearly criminal nature.” They also denounced discrimination against certain painters, especially the younger ones whose work was not considered.
The exhibition sparked several incidents, one of which occurred a few months before the opening, when certain representatives of Mexican cultural institutions were involved in a scandal with political ramifications. The problem began with Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace], the mural painted by Diego Rivera (1886–1957), which really turned into a nightmare, especially for Carlos Chávez. As the director of the INBA [National Institute of Fine Arts], Chávez rejected the message of the mural and refused to show it in Paris. Rivera’s mural showed Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung offering the dove of peace to symbolic figures representing the United States, France and Great Britain, clearly implying that the West was a source of oppression and injustice toward the proletarian masses and that the only way to create a new society was through communism.