THE POWER OF REVOLT: Grassroots Resistance in Oaxaca

June 13, 2009 to August 15, 2009

We ended our first season with a powerful exhibit of photographs from the Oaxaca, Mexico resistance movement combined with original political posters from art collectives there.


In 2006, Oaxaca, Mexico came alive with a broad and diverse movement that captivated the nation and inspired communities organizing for social justice around the world. Fueled by long ignored social contradictions, what began as a teachers’ strike demanding more resources for education quickly turned into a massive movement that demanded direct, participatory democracy.

Hundreds of thousands of Oaxacans raised their voices against the abuses of the state government. They participated in marches of up to 800,000 people, planned strategy at the barricades, occupied government buildings, took over radio stations, held sit-ins, and reclaimed spaces for public art and altars for assassinated activists. In the now Legendary March of Pots and Pans, 2,000 women peacefully took over and operated the state television channel for three weeks.

All this despite the fierce repression that the movement faced – with hundreds arbitrarily detained, tortured, forced into hiding, or murdered by government forces and paramilitary death squads. And the Oaxacan people were still determined to make their voices heard. This exhibit was our attempt at ArtRage to help make those voices heard through the photographs and art of those who were there and to learn from them.

Films and presentations on this struggle accompanied the exhibit along with the sale of a must read book, “Teaching Rebellion; Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca”.