Aside from Frida Kahlo, probably the most famous Mexican artists are the great Muralists of the early 20th century. In the 1920s, soon after the Mexican revolution, the education minister commissioned various artists to create a series of public murals to increase awareness of the country’s history and cultures amongst the population, and to help build a unified sense of national identity. Many of the best works (by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo’s husband, and David Alvaro Siqueiros) have strongly left-wing message, including highlighting the past and ongoing repression of indigenous peoples.
The movement spread across the country, and I saw examples in Mexico City, Aguascalientes, Guadalajara and Oaxaca, in various public buildings. Normally huge and often brightly coloured, they are a great way to learn a bit more about the country’s history. The ones by Jose Clemente Orozco in Guadalajara’s Instituto Cultural Cabañas are so impressive and historically important, they are now a World Heritage site. Here are pictures of some of my favourites.