This project was part of a residency Yamasaki did at EDELO, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
Collaborating with 3 other artists and members of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, she worked to celebrate the legacy of the Zapatista movement at one of their governing headquarters. Yamasaki and the other artists illustrated the movement’s sustained, peaceful governance that continues to create just societies throughout southern Mexico.
Conditions for us were a little rough and forced us to realize, once again, how urbanized we have all become. We slept on wooden boards in a very Japanese-Internment style barrack that was decorated with the words and drawings of many who have come in solidarity to the movement since the caracoles were formed years ago.
The caracol of Morelia was perhaps the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. For what is a highly controlled, deeply regimented, absolutely devoted group of people ready to organize and take action at a moment’s notice, the caracol was quiet, respectful and openhearted. The caracol promotes a culture where machismo does not dominate, where men and women both cook and chop wood and where drinking and drug abuse is absolutely prohibited.
Our mural depicts Zapatistas in all forms, united and present, larger than life and strong. The idea was to show the continued strength of the movement, recognizing not only the requested icons that appear in nearly every Zapatista mural of Subcomandante Marcos and Zapata, but also presenting La Comandanta Ramona, the crucial voice in the liberation of the indigenous woman. The mural progresses from left to right, night to day into a surreal landscape where within the rolling green mountains of Chiapas are the eyes focused upwards of the Zapatista rebels, looking towards a better world. They are armed, not as usually depicted with machine guns and rifles, rather with paintbrushes and a palette that shows their 13 demands, the movement ready to paint the world as they plan to create it.