Descendants of Emiliano Zapata announced they will sue the painter of a nude and feminized portrayal of the revolutionary general, as well as the Secretariat of Culture and the Palace of Fine Arts for using the painting in a promotion for an upcoming exhibition.
Painted by artist Fabián Cháirez, the piece sparked controversy on social media after it was posted.
Zapata’s grandson, Jorge Zapata González, said the painting “denigrates the figure of the general” and is harmful to the image of Mexican heroes.
He said some people wanted to go to the Palace of Fine Arts and burn the painting, “but we are respectful of the institutions and we are going conduct ourselves in the best way, but we are not going to allow the figure of the general to be denigrated.”
Accompanied by family and descendants of other revolutionary figures at a press conference outside the state government place in Cuernavaca, Morelos Palace, Zapata said that depicting the “Strongman of the South” in a homosexual way was disrespectful to the history of Mexico.
He said that without his grandfather, the “purest and most noble icon of the Revolution,” the very government employees that posted the painting wouldn’t have the jobs they have today.
“If General Zapata or General Villa hadn’t led the Revolution, these dimwits wouldn’t be in the spots they occupy today. And they’re repaying him by denigrating his image in a place as important as the Palace of Fine Arts?” he said.
He and others behind the proposed lawsuit aim to use the legal recourse to settle the dispute in a way that does not break friendly ties with the government of President López Obrador.
“We’re investigating what’s behind this and in the lawsuit we’re going to do everything necessary to avoid problems,” he said.
Zapata added that although there may be thousands of paintings that depict the general in various forms, such as the one by Cháirez, he believes that such a painting should not be exhibited in a place like the Palace of Fine Arts.
“People will respect General Zapata or we will make them respect him,” he said.