Mesoamerica | Frida, Diego & The Muralists
Chicana/o Art | Mictlan | Nepantla Aesthetics
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Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF)
Serigraph, 1975

 


 

As a master engraver, Posada's prints were largely in the tradition of 19th century social satire and political caricature. He ridiculed the social structure, the upper classes, the corrupt politicians and the exploitation of the poor. His most important and well known symbol of this commentary are his animated skeletons, which are known as Calaveras in Spanish.

Drawn from the Dia de los Muertos tradition, which is rooted in more ancient traditions in Mexico, Posada's calaveras became a powerful vehicle for moralizing as well as great social equalizers. They were produced for inexpensive and humorous publications, decorating ironic epitaphs of public and/or political figures. As a result, the calavera, evolved into one of contemporary Mexico's most popular and enduring iconic symbols. In the United States, early Dia de los Muertos art work produced by Chicano artists in the 1970's, often referenced the work of Posada, only to take the calavera icon into new frontiers by the close of the 20th century.