Just like that, my classes are done! In the blink of an eye, ten weeks flew by and I am stepping into the next phase of my program: research! A unique part of all SIT programs is the transformation of the final month of studying abroad into an opportunity for students to participate in either an internship (depends on location) or an individual research project (ISP). Every student is given the freedom to pursue a research topic of interest or work with any organization that excites them. Somehow the procrastinator in me thought the research project was the smart choice. Maybe old habits will die hard? Who am I kidding, let’s dive into what my project will look like 🙂
A little look into history
Thanks to Diego Rivera and several other prominent artists in the twentieth century, Mexico boasts a thriving art scene. The medium of choice? Murals. With strong roots in political activism during the 1920s, street murals and art continue to play an influential role in social change throughout Mexico. Oaxaca being no exception.
Oaxaca is adorned with hundreds of murals and graphics that vary in themes as I traverse neighborhoods, increasingly political in nature as I head toward the southeast sector of the city (where I live). Truthfully, I can’t walk a block without encountering some form of street art.
Political protest and upheaval in Oaxaca circa 2006 in relation to education and workers’ rights mark a significant change in politics, activism, and art. Both printmaking and street art claimed their place at the forefront and haven’t looked back since. Today, these art forms are found in all social movements, from indigenous activism to feminism.
As soon as I took my first stroll through the city and saw the art all around me, I knew it would be part of my project. For that exact reason, the next month I will be looking into the influences of political art (street murals, printmaking, textiles, etc) on modern feminist activism and social change in Oaxaca. This will look like me sitting in cafes and libraries diving deep into literature reviews; interviewing local artists/art enthusiasts; and visiting various murals, art collectives, and galleries all throughout the city.
While this certainly will be a challenge, I’m excited about where it will lead me. That being said, please excuse me as I am sucked down the research rabbit hole for the next four weeks with a soundtrack orchestrated by the one and only, Natalia Lafourcade.
P.S. If you have never listened to music by Natalia Lafourcade, I highly recommend it, you won’t be disappointed (check out this Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/71GV22i0y9nRHmoTVrsXTE?si=2ca47f62eecd4b6f)