Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This article is one of the few that describes the murals painted in several primary schools in Mexico, thus it allows us to know what it was like before its total or partial destruction. The title of this mural by Pablo O’Higgins was Vida y problemas sociales. La conquista contra la verdad y la realidad del trabajo y sus luchas. [Life and Social Problems. The conquest of truth and the reality of labor and its struggles.]

Annotations

Having served as Diego Rivera’s assistant when he painted the frescoes at the Secretaría de Educación Pública, [SEP, Ministry of Public Education], the Universidad Agrónoma in Chapingo, and afterward when he painted the corridors of the Mercado Abelardo Rodríguez, Pablo O’Higgins then had the opportunity to paint three murals at the Emiliano Zapata functionalist school. It was later divided; one mural remains at the Jesús Romero Flores School. Its theme builds upon topics explored by Rivera: an indigenous woman with her family of two children living in the post-Conquest era, two Spanish soldiers with armor and menacing spears helping another Spaniard with a whip in his hand, and a bishop—the latter two are symbols of the military-spiritual conquest. One indigenous child is blindfolded, which represents ignorance and submission. In the dark background, flames consume the Aztec temples. There is a sun-star (Venus) above the figures and a descending eagle serves as an allegorical representation of Cuauhtémoc. 

Researcher
Alejandro García : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Alma Mérida, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Biblioteca Justino Fernández del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México