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Niños Héroes

By Cristian Zermeño

The work of Humberto Valdéz ( born in Jeréz, Zacatecas, in 1973), goes through the highways of traditional Mexican graphic insurrection at its junction with popular culture.

Humberto Valdez
“Niños Héroes”
Fri, Nov 6, 7pm
Bellas Artes
Hernández Macías 75

In Niños Héroes, the artist overturns the sacred identity of the figures and symbols that are part of the national imagery. The actor-idol Pedro Infante boxes against himself, as an infinite reflection of an incomplete portrait of macho identity. In another picture, baseball player Fernando Valenzuela wields several machetes while standing insolently on an insect leg. The pitcher became famous by this transmutation into a double myth: it is the representative of the Mexican north of the Río Grande and at the same time serves as the catalyst for violence.

Duality is the trigger for whatever it means to be Mexican. To Humberto Valdéz, you have to shake great myths to see what emerges from them. “Niños Héroes” are a civic tradition representing sacrifice. The young cadets immolate in textbooks of nationalism. It’s Icarus who died not for transcendence, but by the call of the motherland. It’s the country that swallows itself, whether in the form of grasshopper or a fighting cock.

As in José Guadalupe Posada’s works, Humberto Valdéz takes us by the hand through what others may sense about Mexico: poverty and ignorance that make Mexico country still under construction. Heir to Leopoldo Guzmán and José Clemente Orozco, Valdéz discovered in violence the safe-conduct for the stability of the nation. Power is hidden in the recesses of the wildest fantasies of contemporary Mexico, lost paradise where the figures of sports heroes and narcos are as venerated as religion. Provocative and mesmerizing images show us Humberto’s mastery of technique in linoleum. Twenty pieces in big format inspired by known Mexican characters allow us to reflect on the current situation of violence in Mexico.


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