Ignacio Aguirre (1900 - 1990)

Zapata hecho prisionero en la lucha en favor de los campesinos (1947-1974)
Zapata taken prisoner in his struggle for the liberation of the Peasants

Woodcut on paper
height: 29cm
width: 20cm

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


Emiliano Zapata is remembered as one of the heroes of the Mexican Revolution. He is often depicted in a large sombrero with a sash of bullets across his chest. Many images depict him as a serious if not stern leader capable of defeating his enemies. Aguirre's woodcut presents a much softer version of the fearless leader. Zapata's eyes are cast down and angled toward what appears to be a simple rock among the crowd. Upon closer inspection, however, this stone resembles hands clasped together and fingers intertwined. Aguirre is most likely referring to the millions of peasants who turned toward leaders such as Zapata hoping for someone to rescue them from their plight under Porfirio Díaz. Zapata's solemn gaze becomes even more unsettling as the question of who is left to fight for the peasants arises. The lack of visible emotion on the faces of the revolutionary's captors indicates that they have little regard or concern for the very people Zapata fought to liberate. They wear uniforms and at least one guard is on horseback. They have lost their connection to the land of Mexico and to the people who toil daily to provide not only food for their families but also food to be sold at markets. The fruits of the peasants' labour could very well be what the soldiers themselves eat.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

browse the collection

artist a-z > work type > advanced search >