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Diego Rivera to Be Reimagined in San Miguel


By Susan Santiago

“It was an idea I had a few years back on a visit to Mexico City,” said Los Angeles photo artist Harry John Kerker. “I’d spent a lot of time photographing the people of Mexico over the years, but the connection between my work and Diego’s didn’t become clear to me until visiting the Ministry of Education building and viewing three floors of his work. I couldn’t help thinking that what I had been shooting in Mexico today had similarities to what Diego was painting in the 1920s; there still seems to be a great divide between rich and poor. I decided it was time to bring that story to light again, with a contemporary revival of Diego’s work.”

This summer, Kerker and a team of local artists and theater people will painstakingly restage or “reimagine,” as the artist likes to say, eight of Diego Rivera’s greatest works in San Miguel de Allende. A hand-picked team—including local muralist Francisco Nadie, photographer Christopher Ruby, producer Paola Velasco, historian Alberto Aveleyra, and theatrical advisor Christian Baumgartner—will together stage the paintings with local people, and local actors, hand-made historically accurate costumes, and locally made props.

Because of the abstract nature of Rivera’s work, the images will be photographed in pieces, resized, and reassembled digitally in order to be accurate depictions of Rivera’s unique sense of proportion and linear perspective. According to Kerker, the project will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign in July and so required that an imaging test be done to show supporters what the result would look like beforehand. The painting Nude with Calla Lilies was chosen because of its simplicity. It was staged in the theater at the Biblioteca. “The result was better than I had hoped for,” said the artist. “We had a limited time to put the all the pieces together, and my team was terrific.”

The project will commence again in San Miguel, this July–September. The result will be eight large-scale images to be shown in San Miguel during the holidays. If you’d like to learn more about the project or be involved, contact Paola Velasco at

Harry John Kerker is a Los Angeles-based photo artist who exhibits in Mexico and the US. He is the recipient of over 150 national and international design and photography awards, including a television Emmy nomination. He will be exhibiting at Galeria San Francisco starting on September 8.


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