75.4 F
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Renowned muralista Juana Alicia in Yucatan: Tear down that wall!

“Cenote de Sueños,” which celebrates the indigenous Mayan history of Yucatáan, is obscured by a makeshift wall erected by the state-run art school

Latest headlines

The great Kukulkán prepares for his descent, but no one will be there to see him

As was the case during the last spring equinox, Chichén Itzá closed for three days as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

Yucatán kicks-off rabies vaccination campaign for cats and dogs

This week marks the beginning of Yucatán's rabies vaccination program for cats and dogs

House permits for foreigners — How to buy a house in México

Any foreigner can obtain direct ownership of a property in the interior of the country, they just need a permit from the Foreigner Affair's Office. However, under Mexican law, foreigners cannot directly own property within the restricted zone.

Bars, cantinas, and sports centers to re-open in Yucatán

Mérida’s bars and cantinas will be allowed to operate once again, but only at 50% capacity. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der...
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.
Juana Alicia’s huge mural at the art school was covered up a few years after it was revealed. Photo: Courtesy

Vulnerable to the weather, vandals and the wrecker’s ball, public murals in public don’t always get the respect they deserve.

To see a mural and its artist disrespected in a cultural capital such as Merida is shocking enough. That it’s happened in a state-run art school is even more striking.

Such is the case with Juana Alicia’s impressive work, “Cenote de Sueños,” at the Higher School of Arts of Yucatan (ESAY). Administrators covered up a prominent artist’s mural in 2011. It had been on view for five years.

The artist, who divides her time between the San Francisco area and Merida, is offended.

“It’s censorship,” says Alicia. “It’s overing up a work of art that was made for the public and making it invisible.”

She has been joined by numerous allies in demanding that the work, a site-specific piece that references the building’s historic train station past, be uncovered. She threw down the gauntlet at a press conference in March.

“Yucatán has had a long history of upholding an outdated caste system, which ultimately brings clarity to the ongoing controversy over Alicia’s mural highlighting indigenous resilience,” writes Elissa Jiménez in El Tecolote. “She continues to fight the censorship, however, with the community’s support both in Yucatan and beyond.”

Administrators said the wall was covered to allow space for the students’ own artistic expression, but Alicia doesn’t see it that way.

“The mural was always intended to be a permanent installation, paid for by the Fulbright Garcia-Robles grant I received to foster cultural exchange between the U.S. and Mexico,” Alicia commented previously. “There are many other walls at the ESAY available for student projects. This is a clear example of artistic censorship.”

She worries about what she will find once they do remove the false wall which was bolted over the work.

“I don’t know what process they used to install the false wall in front of it,” says Alicia.

Still, Alicia has many new projects, most recently illustrating the forthcoming book, “La X’tabay,” by Tirso Araiza, who happens to be her husband. A traditional folk tale told in the style of magical realism, the work will be translated into English and Yucatec Maya.

Juana Alicia’s latest exhibit, “The X’tabay: A Contemporary Vision,” features those illustrations. It opens Saturday, June 1 at Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St., San Francisco.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

More articles

The small but beautiful ancient city of Chicanná

Chicanná gets its name from its most famous building, the House of the Serpent Mouth.

Yucatán curfew: Vehicle restrictions almost at the end of the road

A road curfew that kept non-emergency vehicles off the road after 11 p.m. will end Monday, Oct. 4.

Yucatán faces resistance as COVID spread continues

A "World Wide Rally for Freedom" was held on the Paseo de Montejo to protest pandemic-related restrictions. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

Guns N’ Roses cancels Mérida concert, vows to return in 2022

Guns N' Roses won't be in Mérida in 2021 after all. Los Angeles rockers Guns N' Roses...

Cholul — The small pueblo named after water wood in Northern Mérida

Although it has largely grown in popularity for newcomers, Cholul still retains its town designation as well as most of its traditions and customs.

Yucatán loosens curfew and eases limits on restaurant hours

Yucatán is easing its pandemic curfew, allowing drivers on the road at night between Sunday and Wednesday.

The best breakfasts in Yucatán

Breakfast time in Yucatán is full of delicious options, from the spicy to the sweet and savory.

Yucatán still struggles as COVID cases decline nationally

Mexico's health undersecretary has declared the country's coronavirus crisis on the wane, but Yucatán is lagging by...

Mexico will vaccinate one million children at severe risk of COVID-19

There is an important limitation since the only vaccine authorized for emergency use in children under 18 is Pfizer’s.

Shorebirds in the Yucatán: endangered travelers

18% of the total bird population in Yucatán is in danger of extinction as a result of habitat loss, the introduction of invasive and predatory species, overfishing, and the climate crisis.