Zapatista school mural @ La Montaña, Chiapas, Mexico

This mural was created in the spring of 2016 as part a collaboration between the students and educators at one small Zapatista school and a group of international and Mexican people-of-conscience including students from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. This mural painting caravan was hosted by the Zapatista Education Commission of the Caracol of Morelia and organized by Schools for Chiapas.

This mural was created in the spring of 2016 as part a collaboration between the students and educators at one small Zapatista school and a group of international and Mexican people-of-conscience including students from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. This mural painting caravan was hosted by the Zapatista Education Commission of the Caracol of Morelia and organized by Schools for Chiapas.

Para leer descripciones del mural en tzeltal y español haz clic aquí.

The descriptions below of seven sections of this mural captures some of  the conversations and understandings during our mural painting collaboration.  We appreciate you suggestions and comments; your support for our next Zapatista school mural is also vital!  Join us!  donate/store/murals/.

1. Night of revolutionary birth

A school mural is born as a unique moonlight breaks through the darkness on the eastern wall of the Emiliano Zapata Zapatista school in Chiapas, Mexico.  Commander Ramona, or perhaps another tiny indigenous woman, emerges from the darkness dressed as a full moon.  Three revolutionary figures mounted on horseback use her pure light to find their way.   Mexican hero General Emiliano Zapata plus two contemporary Zapatistas:  Sub-commander Insurgent Galeano and Sub-Commander Insurgent Moises emerge from a swirling world-wind of color, people, words, and ideas into the form of a snail – ancient Mesoamerican symbol for communication. From this snail whorl-wind springs the colors of every Tzeltal women’s dress with rainbow lines below and pink flowers above forming clouds in the blue sky of an emerging dawn.  The forgotten and excluded have found their way; they welcome us into their world.  donate/store/murals/tiger-la-montana

2.    Guardian Jaguar at the edge of night and day
At the corner of the Eastern and northern walls of the Emiliano Zapata school a massive jaguar guards the Tzeltal students while roaring out a revolutionary warning to the world that a just and human way of life is being cultivated at this humble school.  The power begins to know fear and uncertainty.  donate/store/murals/

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The highest priority for the students was to show their collective agricultural work.

3. Collective planting for a new dawn
Under an emerging sun the students of the Emiliano Zapata School follow the ancient ritual corn planting using traditional planting sticks.  Central to this process is the collective organization which includes young men and women working together to feed themselves while gaining the vision and strength to birth a new and better world where cooperation replaces individualism and competition.  Which is another way to say – as the Zapatistas always insist, “Everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves.”  donate/store/murals/

butterfly-blog4.    Germinating the metamorphosis of life
From within the heart of one butterfly sprouts life-giving corn defining Mayan life of today, yesterday and tomorrow.  Butterflies are magic medicine representing rebirth and transformation through a life of struggle.  The stages of insect life surrounding this seed-butterfly represent the great diversity of worlds which are both possible and necessary to end exploitation, humiliation, and marginalization.  donate/store/murals/

5.    Women greet the new dawn in joyful dance1-IMG_2603
Ancient dance steps walk out of the past and into the future as traditional Mayan music flows through the schoolyard energizing swaying teenage students; welcoming the tropical sun.  Heat, humanity, and hope rise on the wings of a living and joyful people’s art.  Laughter becomes our shield and our weapon.  donate/store/murals/

6.    Laughing while imagining a new and better world
Natural life is prevalent throughout the mural representing the respect that Zapatista children and their communities have towards nature.  Here we meet a revolutionary Tucan who joins a reptile world-wind with saluting penguins, helicopters, and a myriad of animals and items of daily life.  Many of the animals are hunted for their strong skins or special flavors, but all are surviving here in the vivid imaginations of a world where all the worlds fit.  donate/store/murals/

7.    Hands-of-corn harvesting corn
Days and years and the cycle-of-life flows; the people-of-corn harvest a future for our Mother Earth.  donate/store/murals/

Six friends under six stars found the EZLN in 1983.

Six friends under six stars found the EZLN in 1983.

ps. A clandestine meeting of hope
The year: 1983.  The place: a forgotten corner in the mountains of the Mexican southeast.  Over a bright campfire five men and one woman place their lives on the line.  As tortillas cook and words flow, the EZLN is born with six compas under six stars ~ the world will never be the same.  You can still join them today!  Hasta la Victoria, Zapatista!  donate/store/murals/

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