Jesús Alvarez Amaya (1925 - 2010)

El pueblo oprimido (1974)
The People are oppressed

Woodcut on paper
height: 20cm
width: 29cm

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


During the tyrannical dictatorship of the Mexican president Porfirio Díaz, which lasted from 1876 to 1911, the peasant and working class citizens of Mexico suffered greatly. Díaz undermined what little power these groups had by taking away their land and basic human rights. Families struggled to feed themselves as the land on which they survived was now given away to friends of Díaz and his supporters. Censorship prevailed and many lost their lives for speaking out against Díaz and their hardships. El pueblo oprimido depicts the American author and banking expert, Charles A. Conant, looming over a landscape with people forced off their land, carrying their possessions on their heads. A soldier, and therefore government agent, wields his sword, while a peasant falls back against a wooden fence. Traces of a hurried exodus are seen in the foreground in the form of small articles of clothing. Conant helped to build irrigation canals in the state of Sonora; all of the land used for the canals was seized by the government from the indigenous Yaqui. The land was then sold to settlers for a low price. Conant would have had no problems taking native lands for such a project as he believed imperialism was a positive outcome of capitalism.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

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