Siqueiros, David Alfaro (1896 –1974) By Heeren, Alice
David Alfaro Siqueiros was one of the founders of the mural movement in Mexico. Together with Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco, Siqueiros joined the struggles of the Mexican revolution by fighting in the front lines, participating in political groups, and depicting the ideals of the movement in his murals. His art reflects his engagement with both Marxism and modern technology. Being influenced both by Futurism and the compositional and thematic concern of artists such as Michelangelo and Francisco Goya, Siqueiros’s murals are a unique mixture of traditional and modern. Murals such as the Proletarian Victim (1933) express the impact of oppression upon the lower classes, while Echo of a Scream (1937), on the other hand, shows the suffering at the level of the body and the mind, and highlights the suffocating and overwhelming character of modern technology. The latter work’s evocation of trauma, and the effect of trauma through generations, was an important theme in Post-Revolution Mexico. The impact of modern life and its technological changes is also central in Siqueiros’s work. More than just depicting modernity, Siqueiros’s use of modern materials and pictorial techniques such as synthetic paints and spray guns was revolutionary. Through his teaching in Latin America and the USA, Siqueiros introduced these new materials and techniques to a myriad of artists, and having an extensive impact upon art in North America. More than propagandistic, Siqueiros’s works are important aesthetic statements with their forced perspectives and multiple viewpoints, as well as their affective color arrangements.