Friday, January 27, 2012

Muralismo

On a winter-turned-spring day, I ducked out of my house-turned-office and over to the Mexican Embassy-turned-Mexican Cultural Institute.  An article in the Washington Post reminded me I needed to check out the Jorge Socias exhibit.
I was welcomed into the ornate edifice with a stunning mural that wound up the floors.  I wandered in and out of the floors, through mahogany libraries that smelled of old world dust and a giant azulejo concert hall whose blue and white burned radiant in the afternoon light.  The rooms oozed old Mexican colonial charm, and I was charmed.  I miss Mexico, and its grandeur.  Anway, the Socias exhibit was interesting, but I was taken by the mural that worked up the mahogany staircase.  The mural, by Roberto Cueva Del Rio- a student of Diego Rivera, was a beauty.  It depicted Mexican history, culture and festivals.  I think Mexican muralism is an underutilized area of cultural diplomacy that Mexico could focus more efforts towards.


But the one panel that really caught my eye featured North and South America embracing, with leaders like Washington, Bolivar, San Martin, Marti, Lincoln and Juarez all looking on.  The mural was painted in mid-1930s and is a reminder of FDR's Good Neighbor Policy and public diplomacy efforts to communicate to Latin America that the US wouldn't meddle in their affairs.  

3 comments:

John Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Brown said...

Hi Paul, Here's my comment again, without the typo in my previous comment:

Hi Paul, I had the pleasure of taking students in one of my Georgetown University classes to the Mexican Cultural Institute. They were charmed/impressed, as was I: (a) No third-degree
security "inspection" as we entered the building (b) the splendor of the building itself (c) a great briefing by the Institute's director and the Mexican Cultural Affairs Officer (d) a willingness on the part of these officials (who spoke splendid English) to take students' questions seriously. As we left the building I could not help but remember the old phrase, "Como Mexico No Hay Dos." Best, John

Paul Rockower said...

Hola Juan Marrón,
Si, I was also impressed by the way I was able to simply enter without any serious seguridad biz. And I also agree with that old phrase. Mexico is such a warm, wonderful gem of a country, and I would love to see it do more public and cultural diplomacy to change misguided perceptions that its grino neighbors to the north hold.
-Don Pablo