“Images have an enormous capacity to contain ideas. And caricature, in particular, can be the vanguard of the transformation of society,” says researcher and caricaturist Rafael Barajas. The Snooper.
After decades of studying the evolution of this art, the collector also put together an exhibition with his collection, whose theme is that cartoon magazines were the direct precursors of the Mexican Revolution.
Caricature and revolution. The Flores Magón and the satirical combat magazineswhich brings together 500 works by national and international artists, including oil paintings, drawings, lithographs, metal engravings, posters, books and photographs, is exhibited at the Museo del Estanquillo as the first exhibition of the year.
“There are several periods. First, there is some background that explains the origin of the political caricature in Mexico, how the combat caricature is consolidated in the country and how an anti-Porfirista branch emerges from it, which begins as liberal and ends as socialist, and which is in the origin of the Revolution,” he details during a tour of the exhibition.
The illustrator explains that “the official story tells you that the Mexican Revolution begins on November 20, 1910; that makes no sense. That is to say, the Mexican Revolution actually began in 1906, with the program of the Mexican Liberal Party, with the first Maderista insurrections.
“However, social conscience awakened at the end of the 19th century. The Mexican combat cartoon was one of the main tools of the liberal world against the conservatives,” he says.
He highlights that “the first artistic avant-garde of important scope that occurred in the West was precisely the magazine The Caricaturewhich Charles published in France, Philipon
“In Mexico, this French avant-garde project acquires its own identity, its own logic, and ends up overthrowing the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. “It was a political and cultural artistic project.”
The promoter points out, in an interview at the end of the tour, that “the Mexican Constitution of 1917 is the first that enshrines social rights; that is, the eight-hour workday, the sufficient minimum wage, the right to vacations, and agricultural distribution.
“And, months after the Constitution of 17 is signed, the Bolsheviks in Russia approve a constitution with similar rights. Here, the underlying theme is what they read: the Bolsheviks, writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky or Rosa Luxemburg. And the Mexican revolutionaries read The Son of the Ahuizote. How do you explain that such similar points have emerged from a cartoon magazine,” he adds.
Barajas admits that this “is material of historical importance not only for Mexico, but for the world, because it tells you about how the first social revolution on the planet was consolidated.”
- Caricature and revolution. The Flores Magón and the satirical combat magazinesin the Estanquillo Museum.
Regarding the evolution of the political caricature in Mexico, he says that “certain logics are maintained, but there have been stylistic variations, they have changed their political objective. But here, what was consolidated was the political combat cartoon and it is a tradition that is still alive today in the works of active cartoonists.
“This tradition of political graphics remained alive in the Mexican muralists, in the members of the Taller de la Gráfica Popular, in the caricature publications of Alberto Beltrán, in the comics of Rius, in the caricatures of Rogelio Naranjo,” he indicates.
The exhibition, which is spread over two floors of the museum, surprises with prints of The proverbs by Goya; magazine illustrations The Ahuizote, The Son of the Ahuizote and The Jacobin Ahuizote, lithographs by Leopoldo Méndez and Alfredo Zalce, and graphic work by Rivera, Siqueiros and Clemente Orozco; as well as caricatures by artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Caricature and revolution. The Flores Magón and the satirical combat magazines It will be inaugurated tomorrow, at 1:00 p.m., at the Estanquillo Museum, and will remain open until next April.