Ignacio Aguirre (1900 - 1990)

Libertad de la prensa (1974)
Freedom of the Press

Woodcut on paper
height: 38cm
width: 27cm

Donated by the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex 2001


Land reform was a major cause of the Mexican Revolution. Porfirio Díaz often took away land titles and rights from peasants in order to give it away to friends and loyal supporters or to sell it to foreign investors. This took away the livelihood of many Mexican peasants. However, land reform was not the sole cause of the Revolution. Citizens of Mexico were, under Díaz, forbidden to voice their opinions or express outrage through the media. Díaz censored newspapers in order to repress the opposition. As a result, freedom of speech and press were no longer basic rights in Mexico. Aguirre's Libertad de la Prensa (Freedom of Speech) directly addresses these issues. Prisoners are locked in a circular cell whose walls are created by upstanding rifles with bayonets and roofed in by a stack of coins. The prisoners themselves toss sheets of paper through the spaces between the weapon-wall indicating that they have probably been imprisoned for spreading anti-government propaganda. The headlines of the sheets below - 'la voz de Juárez' (The Voice of Juárez), 'el liberal' (The Liberal) and 'regeneración' (Regneration) - provide further evidence that the prisoners are revolutionaries.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

browse the collection

artist a-z > work type > advanced search >