Mexico is one of the most colourful countries I’ve ever had the privilege of exploring. Its arts, food, fashion, nature, cultures, music and histories reveal its majesty, creativity, intellect and expressive depth. Here is a selection of photographs that attempt to capture some of the art of Mexico, as I understand it.
Mexico is a deeply religious country, for better or worse. Before it was colonised by the Spanish in 1519, the ancient religion was Nahua, which was an amalgamation of beliefs of the tribes of the region. Several deities were worshipped, and ritual human sacrifice and cannibalism were common practice. The Nahuatl peoples were intellectually advanced, excelling in astronomy and mathematics, sciences which were used by the priests. When the Spanish invaded Mexico, they attempted to displace their multitude of gods in favour of one. They were unsuccessful and today, Mexican Catholicism represents a unique blend of indigeneity and Christianity.
Mexico’s rich and diverse history can be seen on the streets, in its peoples, architecture, cultures and then its tragic erasure and fusions with the Spanish take over that sought to impose its European beliefs that were enforced through rape, pillage, mass murder and imposition. The sad paradox of colonialism is that the result of the slaves’ work is the construction of beautiful structures in the blood, sweat and tears of its degraded workforce.
Everywhere I looked, the streets of Mexico displayed its diverse expressions of art, whether through the design of a door, or tags scrawled across a wall. Each instance was a glimpse into someone’s thoughts at that moment, whether it had taken great effort and time or a few seconds.
Mexico’s walls are home to some of the best graffiti I have ever seen. One day, whilst roaming the back streets of Oaxaca city, I stumbled upon wall upon wall of the most outstanding display of artistry. The Day of the Dead work left my jaw hitting the floor, and a deep sense of respect for the Mexicans.
If you have ever been to any of these places, I’d love to hear your thoughts or see some of your photos.