Before the Spanish conquerors colonized Mexico, the area was part of a region called Mesoamerica. Mesoamerican art centered around several common themes: the gods, nature and the political climate. After Mexico was colonized, art was heavily influenced by the colonizers who were intent on converting the population to Christianity. Writings and paintings of the time were dominated by religious symbolism.
In 1821, after the ten year Revolutionary war, Mexico finally escaped colonial rule and gained its independence. Artists responded by creating their own unique identity, separate from European influences. The Mexican art scene exploded and there are now many famous artists from Mexico that are known around the world. Both men and women took part in the cultural evolution that followed, creating contemporary art that often depicted the political events of the day.
Just to name a few…
The most recognizable name among famous female Mexican artists may be Frida Kahlo. Born in 1907, Frida Kahlo was only eighteen years old when a bus carrying her and a friend crashed into a trolley car, causing grave injuries. Forever changing the course of her future, she suffered through 35 operations, periods of extreme pain and the inability to have children. She began painting while recovering in the hospital, creating self-portraits symbolizing her physical and emotional pain. To this day, Kahlo remains one of the most renowned female painters of all time.
Two other notable female artists born around the beginning of the 20th century, are Leonora Carrington, a surrealist and Remedios Varo. Carrington is most known for her autobiographical paintings, featuring impactful images of sorcery, metamorphosis and the occult. Remedios Varo was also part of the surrealism movement, but differed from others in the genre as she focused very heavily on religion.
Hailing from the later part of the 20th century, are musicians Daniela Liebman and Flor Amargo. Liebman’s extraordinary musical talent was obvious by the age of five years old; performing Mozart’s Concerto #8 on the piano at her solo debut at the tender age of eight. By fourteen, she was named one of Mexico’s top 50 artists by Forbes Magazine. Flor Amargo began her career as a composer at twelve years of age. A multi-instrumentalist, she’s performed at many large venues and festivals, describing her music as an eclectic combination of pop, folk, Mexican cumbia, and classical piano.
Learning more about arts from Mexico
This article only scratches the surface of the rich art scene that you can experience when visiting Mexico. Art from Mexico demonstrates the passion and convictions of its citizens and offers a look into the people’s long and varied history. To gain a better appreciation for and understanding of Mexican culture, check out the local gallery and museums in the city or town you visit, and read the works of the many famous Mexican authors.