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In a 1956 interview with a Costa Rican magazine, the sculptor Francisco Zúñiga—who was born in Costa Rica—speaks about the current art environment for sculpture. Given the current trend to integrate sculpture with architecture, he wonders if sculpture has lost its value as stand-alone art. To make his case, he clarifies that he is not referring to copies of pre-Hispanic sculpture or popular art. Instead, he is advocating a return to the wide, well-lit road that beckons to sculptors who adhere to the Mexican people’s own essential values. Zúñiga has no desire to compare the types of sculpture rendered from time to time or even to examine the differences in the underlying ways of thinking. On the contrary, he values the achievements of the Mexican muralism movement and regards the murals as a fundamental starting point.


When Francisco Zúñiga arrived in Mexico in 1936, he became involved with the Mexican muralist movement. He found two reasons to join forces with its plans: the revival of pre-Hispanic cultures and popular cultures. To him, creating art in which the human figure was central was a basic principle that made complete sense. He had no intention of copying either the cultures that preceded his own or popular art, but he did wish to penetrate their essence through recognition of peoples and the places where these types of art were practiced. Notebook in hand, Zúñiga was always traveling around, taking notes on the people in each village.

Esther Acevedo : Dirección de Estudios Históricos, INAH / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Fundación Zúñiga Laborde A. C., Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca Fundación Zúñiga Laborde A. C.