"Encuentro de los pueblos negros" (gathering of Afro-Mexicans), ASARO
AFRO-MEXICANS OF COSTA CHICA
The Art of Dissent exhibit includes three prints depicting scenes from the Costa Chica region, located on the Pacific coast straddling southern Oaxaca and its neighboring state Guerrero. It is in this region that the majority of Mexicans of African descent live today. Another significant population of Afro-Mexicans lives in coastal Veracruz. This 3-color print, made with two woodblocks, shows a gathering of one of the Afro-Mexican communities in Costa Chica.
One of the most impoverished and marginalized groups in Mexico, Afro-Mexicans are descendants of Africans enslaved by the Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century to work on cattle ranches, mines, and sugarcane plantations in Mexico. By the early 1600s, Mexico’s African slave population was larger than that of any other country in the Americas, and they outnumbered the Spanish population throughout the colonial period.
Although Afro-Mexicans have contributed much to the economic, political and cultural development of the country, they are officially unrecognized as a group: No official census has been compiled on Mexicans of African descent since 1810 and they do not appear in any textbooks or official documents. One of Mexico's most illustrious presidents, Vicente Guerrero (elected in 1829), was of African and Indian descent. An important figure in the struggle for Independence, Guerrero helped to write the Mexican Constitution. Yet, as the country prepares for its bicentennial celebration of Independence to begin in November 2010, Oaxaca is the only state planning to include events that recognize and celebrate Afro-Mexican culture.