Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Local artist Philippo Lo Grande has created another notable piece of public art in Puerto Vallarta, a mural of Emiliano Zapata that graces the outer walls of a house in the Puerto Vallarta colonia (neighborhood) of the same name, at the corner of Calles Jacarandas and Francisco Madero.
The mural was commissioned by Johnny Belcher, who grew up in the Emiliano Zapata colonia and Yelapa. The Belcher family planned this mural as a gift to their neighborhood, and out of respect and admiration for the heroic figure for which it was named.
Emiliano Zapata, a revolutionary leader and agrarian reformer, was wildly popular with the Mexican peasant classes in the early 1900's. He stood for justice, law, freedom, land and liberty, and he fought ferociously against the rich hacienda system that "appropriated" vast tracts of land formerly owned by poor farmers. Zapata believed and fought for the principle that "the land belongs to the tiller."
Philippo Lo Grande, who studied mural painting in Florence, Italy, has a strong admiration for the tradition of mural painting in Mexico. "At one time Mexico was the world leader in public mural art," he said. "It was a way of educating people who could not read or write about what was going on in their country."
A resident of Puerto Vallarta and Yelapa for 25 years, Philippo has painted 22 murals around the Bay of Banderas. His next show, entitled "Until We Meet Again," will be held at Gallerķa Vallarta on August 5th. Be sure and check back next week for more information about Philippo's career and upcoming shows.Philippo was assisted in the creation of the Viva Emiliano Zapata mural by David Perez, whose father assisted Diego Rivera with his murals. Other local artists who provided inspiration and information to assist in the project included Marta Gilbert, Ada Colorina, Javier Nino, and Judith Ewing Morlan.