This mural celebrates Emiliano Zapata, leader of the guerrilla army known as the Zapatistas, during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). He and his army, consisting of mainly indigenous, peasant farmers and villagers, fought to regain control of their rightful land— land that had been appropriated by haciendas (wealthy landowners who exploited native farmers)— and communally redistributed it amongst themselves.
I was commissioned by sculptor, mosaicist and violin-maker, James Simon, to paint something “Zapata themed” on the front of his home-studio in Uptown Pittsburgh, PA., as a tribute to the years he spent living in Morelos, where Zapata is from and remains a local hero. This mural layers imagery of Zapata riding his horse, a map of the Zapatistas’ battle route, and shapes derived from a map of Morelos and from “Revolución” posters. It is painted on 10 by 10 foot, 100 year old wooden doors (that would have existed by the end of the Revolution) and is surrounded by other beautiful public artworks created and curated by James, featuring artists from around the world.
You can experience “Art on Gist St.” and see me painting the Zapata Mural on Google Maps by searching: 305 Gist St., Pittsburgh, PA, 15219.