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TIERRA Y LIBERTAD
As an artist, I seek to leverage marginalized voices and share unheard stories to weave together a peoples’ history of the world and events. Through visual art and tangible masterpieces, I aim to share a vision of history through an equity lens that reminds us of lessons for the present and future. Without experimentation with art that exposes human complexity and imperfection, it
is difficult to grasp the full picture of the world and our place within it.
This piece, titled “Tierra y Libertad” (Spanish for Land and Liberty) features a one of a kind print from a hand-carved linoleum block. This print is the culmination of months of research, thought, and discussion on the Mexican Revolution from 1910-1920 that inspired the content. In a high school history class, I was inspired the story of the Mexican Revolution in which we discussed the key figures and central leaders and their subsequent impact on the politics and economy of the
country. But what struck me was the of the force the revolution on the social fabric of Mexico, beginning with the urgency and revolutionary spirit of the peasantry in driving change. The social and political upheaval in Mexican society and the ripple effect internationally often goes unnoticed
or is oversimplified. But as the majority who refused to remain silent, the peasants and other oppressed groups took back agency in the fight for their land, their country, and their people that was owned by the capitalist bourgeoisie. It is this story of class struggle and social revolution that led me to create this piece. Yet like many other major historical events, the history books were written by the winners, and thus the dominant narrative emphasizes the leaders such as Porfirio Díaz, Francisco Madero, Emiliano Zapata, and Pancho Villa. This depiction neglects the role of revolutionary artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo, and Jose Clemente Orozco, as well as the over 1 million people who fought and died without recognition.
Following in the footsteps of the Mexican muralism movement which emphasized the masses as the hero of fundamental art, my piece depicts the face of one man who evokes recognition of the larger body of the Mexican people. Similar to the work of Diego Rivera, as one of the most prolific artists of the Mexican mural renaissance, I seek to use art as a mechanism of sharing stories of those who were not heard. I chose the method of printmaking because printmaking in Mexico during the time of the revolution expressed the plight and achievements of social reform. And just as Rivera’s murals were large scale and publicly accessible, I made many prints of my artwork to distribute with others to spark conversation and critical dialogue. In this way, my piece is embedded within the larger quilt of art as a social movement to depict the oppression and injustices that must be exhibited and put on display in order to be changed. This piece depicts the face of a man with various symbols of the Revolution embedded throughout his features to acknowledge the complex interconnection between the people and the larger themes they were fighting for. In the man’s forehead you may see the shape of guns as violence was always on the mind of the peasantry; in his chin you may see the fists of protest that did not stop rising for justice; and in the back of the sombrero you may see the people on horseback denigrate into cross graves as they died. There are many more symbols carved within his portrait, but as an artist I seek to remind the viewer that his story is our story. That is, to commemorate not only Mexican culture and heritage from the Revolution of 100 years ago, but the present story of people power and collective organizing that laid the foundation for social movements to come. My philosophy of art and the technique of printmaking builds on this history and seeks to welcome in the audience to seek and find themselves within this story