Naked Zapata painting causes uproar in Mexico

Protests and counter protests have erupted at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City after a painting depicting revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata nude but for high heals and a hat, riding a horse, went on display. The 2014 painting by Fabián Cháirez, titled La Revolución, is part of a show honouring Zapata and his legacy. 

The artist says no offence was intended. Referring to the crowds who assembled outside the museum on Tuesday, as well as a debate that has played out over social media and in the Mexican press, Cháirez asked 'Where is the offence? They see an offence because Zapata is feminised'. Chairez's work frequently seeks to question ideals of masculinity and gender and often features queer or camp figures, sometimes in religious dress or featuring religious iconography.

Threatening legal action however is Zapata's grandson. 'For us as relatives, this denigrates the figure of our general, depicting him as gay' Jorge Zapata González told Associated Press.

The artist has received some public backing however, with scuffles breaking out between those who condemn the work and those who say that it is an issue of LGBT rights. Posting on Instagram, Chairez says he will hold an event on Friday to 'support LGBTTTI expression and cultural rights'.

12 December 2019