Painting leads to protests
– A controversial painting of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata has pitted his family and supporters against the work’s artist and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in a contentious dispute that erupted in heated protests on Tuesday.
The divisive image shows the iconic figure naked and wearing a pink hat and high heels shaped like guns, while perched suggestively on a horse that has an erection.
About hundred protesters stormed the Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico’s premier cultural centre – chanting “Burn it! Burn it!” and threatening to set the painting on fire. They said the painting, called La Revolucion, “denigrates” the revolutionary’s likeness.
The protesters, many of them campesinos, or peasant tenant farmers who are sympathetic to the message of Zapata – himself a campesino from Morelos state – demonstrated outside the museum for hours.
Some shouted homophobic slurs, prompting a small group of LGBT community members and supporters to gather nearby and push back as tensions rose.
“I’m pretty surprised by this violent demonstration. Why does the feminine figure have to inspire this much offence?” the work’s painter, Fabian Chairez, asked on Radio Formula.