Mexico: the painting of a “gay” Emiliano Zapata that causes controversy



With these shouts a group of protesters broke into the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City on Tuesday, protesting against a painting that shows the revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata in a striking and unconventional pose.

Hombre toma una foto del cuadro de Zapata

They screamed, denouncing that the painting, which shows Zapata naked, with high heels and pink overalls, mounted on a horse with an erection.

The grandson of the revolutionary, Jorge Zapata González, demands that the painting be removed.


Resultado de imagen para gay zapata

“For us relatives, this denigrates the figure of our general painting him gay,” said Zapata González, adding that the family would sue the artist and the National Institute of Fine Arts if they did not withdraw the work.

Emiliano Zapata was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution before he was assassinated in 1919, at 39. Many Mexicans still consider him a hero.

The painting "The Revolution" shows a naked shoe, with heels and pink overcoat, on a sexually excited horse
Image caption Zapata’s “feminization” has inflamed the admirers of the revolutionary leader.

Among the protesters were many communal farmers who admire Emiliano Zapata – who was a poor peasant – for his fight against land appropriation by the rich landowners.

They made their protest in front of the museum in the center of Mexico City, some shouting insults against homosexuals, which generated a counter-demonstration of those who defend sexual diversity. There were clashes between both parties.

Clashes between members of the LGBT community and Zapata supporters
There were clashes between members of the LGBT community and Zapata supporters.

The term “Zapata” has become a trend on Twitter, with tens of thousands of users expressing both their support for diversity and objecting against painting.


Protesters said they would block the entrance to the museum until the painting was removed.

The work, by Fabián Cháirez, is entitled “The Revolution” and is part of an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of Zapata’s death.

A group of protesters occupies the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City
The protesters occupied the entrance of the Palace of Fine Arts.

The exhibition includes 141 works of art from 70 collections. Although Fabián Cháirez’s painting is from 2014 and had already been exhibited on another occasion, he received more attention this time, when the Ministry of Culture used it to promote the exhibition through his Twitter and Facebook pages.

Fabián Cháirez expressed that the idea for the painting came up when he noticed “glorified masculinity” in most Zapata representations.

“There are some people who are bothered by bodies that do not obey the rules. In this case, where is the offense? They see an offense because (Zapata) is feminized,” he said.

Luis Vargas, the curator of the exhibition, said that the painting was simply an artistic representation that generates debates on the issues of Mexican society, including homosexuality.

Museum officials insist that the painting will not be removed, although protesters have threatened to return daily until their demand is met.

Imagen relacionada

AMLO defends painting of ‘Gay Zapata’: artists are free

López Obrador asked to avoid violence and defended the freedom of expression of artists

After peasant organizations, they will enter the Palace of Fine Arts demanding that Emiliano’s work be removed. Zapata after Zapata, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked not to censor the works of Fabián Cháirez.

I do not agree with the violence, nor the aggressions against members of the organizations that defend freedom

He added that the manifestation of the National Union of Agricultural Workers (UNTA) “does not necessarily respond to the disagreement manifested by the Zapata family. They did so on their own decision,” and exempted the family of the leader from blame. AMLO has mentioned the possibility of reuniting these relatives with the author.

Artists have all the freedom and there can be no censorship; It is a special matter and the reprehensible thing is that these differences are to be resolved with the use of force. What is it about entering Fine Arts and hitting

Said the President, who has said that he will reunite Zapata’s relatives with the painter of said work so that they reach a peaceful agreement.

Source: euronews, el universal, vanguardia, el debate

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