African American Artists and Mexico

Authored by: Melanie Anne Herzog

The Routledge Companion to African American Art History

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138486553
eBook ISBN: 9781351045193
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351045193-6

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Abstract

Mexico has long held a place in the American imagination. For African American artists, Mexico has been a site of respite, rejuvenation, and inspiration. Following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, African American artists were attracted to Mexico’s atmosphere of social and economic reform, and to the proliferation of art that spoke to the heritage, history, achievements, and aspirations of the Mexican people. Government-sponsored muralists adorned the walls of Mexico City’s public spaces, and printmakers produced broadsides, posters, and portfolios with images that manifested pride in Mexico’s indigenous roots, class consciousness, and nationalistic fervor, and addressed social and political issues of immediate concern. Many African American artists traveled to Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century, some briefly and some for an extended duration, to work with muralists and printmakers, to study, and to escape the unrelenting racism they experienced at home. And some chose to make their homes in Mexico. The relationships forged during these sojourns reverberate in the work of African American artists of subsequent decades and into the present.

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