Mexico is characterized by its rich and unique culture. With the creation of this culture, the Mexican people have been capable of defining their identity and their history, and in that manner, they reached unique recognition between all Latin America and the rest of the world. The presence of the Mexican art in the entire world is a manifestation of thecapacity the people of this country have of creating and renovating the aesthetic sense of art. Looking at its history, the struggles the people had to overpass to gain their independence and the fight for a just government that instead of oppressing looks for its people -a fight that is still taking place in our days- and more than comparing, connecting these aspects with the artistic movements, theirmethodologies and the motifs, the proof that new life can emerge from the ashes of a deteriorated nation by linking the present to the past becomes evident.
Mexican own independent culture arises from the actualization of the nations past, a past that for a period of time was buried by the oppressive modernization of an Indian culture in hands of the European world. Even when the country gainedits independence from the Spaniards in 1821, the country staid controlled by certain type of man, man that maintained the same repression and control over the Mexican people that the Spaniards used in the nation’s colonization. It was not until the fall of the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and the rebellion of the poorest Mexican people against the government with the Mexican Revolution (1910) thatthe nation started becoming aware of the importance of their pass and their roots. The purposes motivating the revolutionaries were the same as the ones motivating the artists arising at that period of time to create their work, the rediscovery of the past. The radicalism of the revolution lies on the willingness of the Mexican people to go back to their roots, the strongest foundations of theirinstitutions. That in the words of Mexican writer Octavio Paz, “Mexico may thus be understood not as a future yet to be realized, but as a return to its authentic, primal origins.” This desire of the Mexican people to bring back their past in an attempt of gaining cultural identity was known as ‘Mexicanidad’. By these means, Mexico sought in modern art not only an utopian vision of the future, butmost important the return to Mexico’s roots.
In this desire of awakening the roots and considering the past as the new present, the Mexican people, the political parties and the different ideologists sought in modern art the most effective manner of creating an independent, cultured, civilized and unique nation. That is when the idea of a nationalized art emerged. This proposition came toreality at the beginning of the 20th century, specifically at the post-revolutionary period. This nationalized art takes into account several aspects that give Mexican Modern Art an iconography. The monumentality of the art works, scale in the sense of the recovered values portrayed by the piece of art; the miniaturization of art, dressing dissected bugs, and the most minimal detail in Mexican toys andthe hand-woven dresses; the use of color and its relation to daily Mexican life and the sun; the creation of myths, stereotyping the Indians, the politics and the rich people; the necessity of art as a form of activism; the importance and presence of death in the Mexican culture; all these are some of the aspects considered when creating a national art. Among all these elements there are threethat are the most concurrent and significant for the creation of that nationalized art in Mexican modernism. The muralist movement- its social importance and contribution to Mexican modernism-, the Indian world, and the presence of death in Mexican art.
The muralist movement in Mexico is by far the most important contribution of modern art to the country and the world. As the movement that...