Saturday, December 16, 2017

EC: America Tropical

America Tropical was painted in 1932 by an extremely talented artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros. The painting is full of radical politics and revealed the social discord that existed. When Siqueiros was asked to paint the mural, he was instructed to paint a romanticized image of tropical America as the land of opportunity. However, Siqueiros as a political activist, painted a scene of the Mayan ruins and other intricate details. America Tropical was created soon after the Great Depression and therefore the mural perfectly portrayed the political and social climate. During the 1920’s Los Angeles was being sold to people, but this leisurely lifestyle was only target for the “well-to-do Anglo-Americans,” while the rest faced unemployment, homelessness, etc. The eagle above the Indian, as many have said, represents the oppression of the United States. I think what makes the piece more emotional is the power stance of the eagle, face forward, and wings opened, while the man below is crucified, constrained, eyes closed, and hopeless.This piece addressed the harm of imperialism in a space where it could be loud and heard. The mural was easily accessible, but a fourth of the piece was whitewashed and a few years later the rest of it was completely covered up. Those who deemed the piece “controversial” knew the truth and the wrong, they were at fault. It made them uncomfortable for a reason. I admire Siqueiros for utilizing his art and position to voice and bring light to the obvious that everyone attempted to avoid.

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