Mural- Mexican Diaspora (“Zapatista”)
Murals of East Harlem
East Harlem/El Barrio is home to a great number of murals that build on a long tradition in Latin American art, wherein residents may express themselves and tell their stories. Protecting these significant cultural symbols has become a great challenge, but an important endeavor, in a rapidly changing neighborhood.
northeast corner of East 117th Street and Second Avenue
Ricardo France ("Guerro”), Mexican truck driver turned tattoo artist and muralist, painted this grand salute to the Zapatista movement of southern Mexico along the wall of a former Mexican restaurant and dance club. One of the first murals painted by a Mexican artist in East Harlem, the work is in the great tradition of Mexican political muralists like Diego Rivera. At the center of the mural is the sun and to the left is the Virgin of Guadalupe, the face of Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista ship and Don Durito of the Lacandona. The masked Zapatista and revolutionary slogans are iconic references to a struggle familiar to Mexicans and a reification of Mexican identity, “Todos somos Marcos.” In 2009, volunteers restored the mural’s fading paint, but it was defaced with graffiti in 2015. The property was sold in 2016, and it is likely that the building – and the mural – will be demolished.