Scrawled across Oaxaca City's homes and storefronts – or for sale as woodblock prints in a city plaza – you'll probably see independence heroes, such as Benito Juárez or Emiliano Zapata. You may see a portrait of Frida Kahlo with a gun strapped to her back. Or a profile of an indigenous warrior with the word "Liberty" sprouting from his head. Or the bust of a sullen boy, looking downward, his eyes shaded in black.
These images didn't always adorn the city's architecture. It wasn't until the 2006 conflict that they began to appear, says Ivan Arenas, a member of the Assembly of Revolutionary Artists, a local artist collective.
Oaxaca's governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, had called in police to disperse striking teachers, who gather in the state capital every May to strike for better pay and working conditions. The protest turned violent, and the teachers' strike expanded into a five-month demonstration: Protesters set up barricades, occupied radio stations, called for the governor's resignation and formed the Oaxaca People's Assembly. Several were killed, along with American journalist Brad Will.
As Oaxaca became embroiled in unrest, political art appeared around the city – in a basketball court, along its avenues, and in its main plaza, or zocalo.