King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The printed page

Carnival in Mexico

We believe the work of Carlos Mérida (1891-1984) to be in copyright, so are unable to display images from the exhibition in this section. If you are the copyright holder please contact us here.

Carlos Mérida. Carnival in Mexico, Mexico [sn], 1940

The brightly coloured lithograph we featured in the exhibition shows two elaborately and brightly clothed figures from a Mexican carnival, their costume a blend of Iberian and indigenous traditions. Carlos Mérida, a Guatemalan artist of mixed Maya and Zapotec heritage, produced work which blended the eclectic traditions of ‘pueblos indígenos’ culture with 20th century artistic techniques.

Each lithograph in the collection is signed by Merida and the set from which this print derives is number 147 of a limited edition of 500 copies. They are housed as loose prints within a flap-case cover. Another set of prints by Mérida entitled ‘Trajes regionales Mexicanos’ is also held in the Foyle Special Collections Library, and is in a similar format. These are equally as colourful and attractive and show regional dress within Mexico.

In the introduction to Carnival in Mexico, Mérida discusses how pre-and post- conquest traditions in Latin America intermingle to positive and intriguing effect:

If the miracles of the saints gave native painters magnificent opportunities to express themselves, the European carnival, in Mexico, became a picture of native Mexican feeling intertwined with European tradition ...  carnival time in Mexico, best expresses the soul of the people ... mingling both European tradition and native zest.

Many people in modern Latin America are of mixed heritage and Mérida wishes the culture of the mestizo and mestiza (the feminine form of the Spanish term for those of mixed heritage) to be celebrated and embraced.

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