I went to Manuel Alfaro’s lecture at the UNR’s Church Fine Arts on May 3rd. His current exhibition which he calls Death, Drugs and La Linea was showing in the Sheppard Gallery during the same time. Alfaro is a Mexican America artisit who primarily works within the theme of Political Chicano Art and said he was inspired by ancient Aztec Art, muralists and Chicano Muralists.
In his current exhibit, Alfaro seeks to compare ancient Aztec warriors to the current narcotics based culture that has become so prominent in Mexico. Both cultures have relied on violence and use this violence to expand their territories and dominate everyone around them at all costs. Today, murders in the cartels justify their actions by likening themselves to their ancient Aztec ancestors.
To Alfaro, art has a way of bringing forth the problems in Mexico from the drug cartels and the inherent political corruption that follows them. He believes his art will be the vehicle to bring forth social issues that have not made much of an impact on American soil, but are tearing apart Mexico family by family. According to the Sheppard Gallery, "His artwork connects the present-day drug cartel violence to the pre-colonial history of the Aztecs through color palette, symbolism, and iconographic imagery. The artist's work explores the reality Mexico is experiencing today."