Protest Art in Central America
Diego Rivera was a Mexican Artist. He was not afraid to use his art to communicate how he felt about the systems of power in the Americas. This mural (Glorious Victory, 1954 4 meters wide) was gifted to the Soviet Union during one of his visits.
His colours are lush, and his subject matter is the people and society he lived in. Here we see wounded and dying indigenous people in the foreground, and the conquerors shaking the hand of the man who will take power. Because of the prominence of the banana in the painting, I suspect this is one of the Banana Republics set up by the U.S. and wealthy banana producers in Central America. The indigenous people were, in many cases, divested of their land and the corrupt governments served the foreign plantation owners rather than the people. There is also a priest who appears to be sanctioning the atrocities he sees before him.
The central focus is the handshake between the leader installed by the U.S. and the crowd of politicians, lawmakers, and businessmen that comprise the power structure dominating the indigenous people.
In the extreme right of the picture the indigenous population is in jail, and in the extreme left, bananas are shipped to the US.
A man in a dark suit passes money around to the local politicians and soldiers to buy their loyalty and silence protest.
Why would Diego Riveira choose to paint such a scene? To him, the function of art was not just about creating beauty, but exposing something about foreign and domestic politicians.
Events like these did take place in Central America, and exploitation of resources still happens in poor nations around the world. I admire any artist that tries to expose these corruptions.