Protest Graffiti Mexico: Oaxaca
Louis E. V. Nevaer & Elaine Sendyk
- Page Count: 160
- Size: 7 x 9.5 inches
- Format: Casebound
- Publication Date: February 2009
- Price: $27.95
- ISBN: 978-0-9799666-4-4
On October 27, 2006, when Mexican police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in the city of Oaxaca, killing three people, including American journalist Brad Roland Will, the world became aware of a social conflict that at its core was about the right to an education. Since 1981, teachers in the Mexican state have held annual strikes, but 2006 was the first time that violence erupted. Within hours of these shootings, graffiti calling the region’s governor a murderer was sprayed throughout the city. The graffiti that has since overwhelmed the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, constitutes the protest art of a community rising up to defend teachers, and our collective fundamental right as human beings to have access to education.
Unlike in other cities where graffiti is recognized by many as a form of public art, in Oaxaca, graffiti became a way of achieving social justice through community organization, creating and facilitating an ongoing dialogue of rage. And because teachers in Mexico are primarily women, the graffiti is very much inspired by and made by women.
Oaxaca resident Elaine Sendyk took the photographs in this book during the summer of 2007. Tensions were heightened, and there was a renewed sense that Oaxaca could again fall prey to violence. Depicting oppression, empowerment, and the messages of struggle and revolt, this graffiti echoes universal desires, making for stunning and poignant visuals that remind readers: “We Are All Oaxaca!”
Commentary and analysis from journalists and the acclaimed songstress (and Oaxaca native) Lila Downs establish the context for the photographs shot by Sendyk, which depict the messages of struggle, revolt and empowerment.