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Series 1: 2. Power



Alinka Echeverria reveals how artists became the authors of Mexico's official history, defining the origins of its power and wielding significant influence over millennia.\n\nFollowing the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910, landscape paintings established a new style that was resolutely Mexican, and confirmed the re-established connections between Mexico's indigenous population and their land. Forces of nature and Mexico's landscape continue to be integral to the Mexican sense of artistic identity.\n\nThe relationship between art and power can be seen throughout world history. But Alinka argues that Mexico differs. Not only did indigenous artists project the power of the elites in its ancient civilisations, artists became the authors of Mexican history and the power-brokers in the struggles for political dominance.\n\nIn Mexico's history, power changes hands quickly and often violently. The city state of Cholula dominated central Mesoamerica around 1,000 years ago, but fell to Spanish conquistadors in the space of a day.\n\nNearly 500 years later, one of the largest triumphal arches in the world was intended to express the unassailable power of Porfirio Diaz. But before the arch was completed, the Mexican Revolution swept Diaz from power. The fragile nation needed a new national story to provide unity and stability. Art was to create it.\n\nDiego Rivera painted a spectacular sweep of Mexican history as he, and the government who commissioned him, wanted it understood. It was origin myth and propaganda rolled into one. The power of art to establish Mexican nationalism was extraordinary. Frida Kahlo used her considerable influence to make the personal political, in both gender politics and amplifying indigenous voices.\n\nToday, nowhere is it more important to express Mexican power and identity than at its borders. In Tijuana, on the border with the United States, the creativity of individual artists and collectives is fired by matters of everyday politics and the proximity to their northern neighbour. The results underline how art and power in Mexico are inextricably linked.

Source: BBC 4

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In this final episode, Alinka explores how faith has always driven life in Mexico, and how the need for a visual image created a unique blend of Mesoamerican and Catholic faith. ...

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Alinka Echeverria reveals how artists became the authors of Mexico's official history, defining the origins of its power and wielding significant influence over millennia.\ ...

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BBC 4

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The Art That Made Mexico: Paradise, Power And Prayers

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