Ignacio Aguirre (1900 - 1990)

El pueblo es soberano (1974)
Power to the People

Woodcut on paper
height: 24cm
width: 30cm

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


El pueblo es soberano is a powerful image dealing with the realities of armed conflict and those who suffer the most. Emiliano Zapata, whose followers were called Zapatistas, was the leader of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution. His army mainly consisted of impoverished peasants supportive of Zapata's ideas on land reform. The fields in the background as well as the dress of the two soldiers on the left indicate that these are indeed Zapatistas. One of the soldiers aids the peasant women on the right in holding up what has become a funeral cloth. Lifeless bodies, presumably revolutionary men also fighting with Zapata, are strewn about the cloth. It is here that Aguirre has chosen to inscribe 'Power to the people', the title of the print. The dead men below these words have become powerless, dying for their land and the rights that Díaz and his men eagerly usurped from them. However, their deaths empower the causes of the Mexican Revolution and encourage soldiers to carry on so that their comrades will not have died in vain. The peasant women and one of the soldiers look out towards the surrounding fields, land that many lost their lives for in order to maintain their livelihoods.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

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