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Mestizo ModernityRace, Technology, and the Body in Post-Revolutionary Mexico$
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David S. Dalton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400394

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400394.001.0001

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Painting Mestizaje in a New Light

Painting Mestizaje in a New Light

Racial, Technological, and Cultural Hybridity in the Murals of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco

(p.59) 2 Painting Mestizaje in a New Light
Mestizo Modernity

David S. Dalton

University Press of Florida

This chapter analyzes the state-funded murals of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, two artists who served as de facto mouthpieces for the state as they trumpeted the postrevolutionary tenets of official mestizaje through their work. Despite sharing the state’s seal of approval, the two men communicated contradictory racial discourses as they disagreed about the proper place of the nation’s European and indigenous heritage within the official ideology. That said, both men’s work was pro-mestizo despite the fact that they conceived mixed-race identity in very different ways. Orozco’s understanding of racial and technological hybridity tended toward hispanismo as he constantly validated the result—if not the means—of the Spanish conquest. Unlike Orozco, Rivera carefully separated European science—which he celebrated—from the cosmology that had permitted the destruction of thousands of indigenous lives. Instead, he posited an essentialistic indigenous spirit that would redeem mestizo Mexico from the conquering nature it had inherited from its European progenitors. This paternalistic understanding of indigeneity led to an indigenista discourse that became the favored paradigm of official mestizaje throughout the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords:   Mixed-race identity, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Racial and technological hybridity, Hispanismo, Indigenista discourse, Paternalism

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