Accepted Paper:

Struggling street artists: ASARO's tactic of a "maintenance of the tradition" in Oaxaca, Mexico  


Hidetsugu Yamakoshi (Waseda university)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation focuses on the practice of the street artist group called “ASARO” in Mexico. They put posters on the walls of public spaces to appeal their political message. I will verify how they update the traditional images and link them to the social problems happening in Mexico.

Paper long abstract:

Nowadays a common tactic for the people who are marginalized is to create self portraits as their identity in order to resist those who are being dominant.

In the 1920's mural movement in Mexico, the government used the images of the "Aztec culture", "Indigena people" and others as the traditional image of Mexico. Muralists painted such images on the walls of public spaces. However, according to previous studies, it is said that such images which represents of Mexico are flooding everywhere around the city and they do not evoke anything special to Mexican people anymore.

However, during the protest movement in 2006 in the small city of Oaxaca, a young group of students of the art school who were called by ASARO, started to draw traditional Mexican images like ones in the Mural movement. They would draw over thin paper posters and paste them on public space walls. The interesting part is that they combined traditional Mexican images and what was happening at that time during the conflict of Oaxaca in 2006.

It seems like ASARO is trying to explain the hard situation they are living by using their collective memory. In this article I will call it ASARO's tactic as a "Maintenance of the tradition". Through this presentation, I will verify that ASARO is trying to show with their art pieces the spirits of the revolution are still living inside of Mexican people.

Panel P141
Between innovation and tradition: ethnographies of change