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In July 1954, the communist activist artist Frida Kahlo dies. The state authorities bans the event honoring her memory. Moreover, on June 27, the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemalais overthrown by the military with the support and co-operation of the CIA. Outraged by the violations of basic freedoms, Adolfo Mexiac creates the work Freedom of Speech as a protest.

This linocut is a vigorous plea for democracy and freedom of expression of the oppressed-especially minorities, artists and intellectuals. The work shows an Indian Tsotsil,whose face Mexiac sketched. A strong chain locked with a padlock muzzles him. Certainly he cannot speak, complain, but he proudly raises his head and his determination brightens his eyes. Hope has not vanished yet and freedom of expression will  preavail. 

The lithograph made in 1968 from this linocut – known around the world -shows the artist’s involvement in student protests. A few days before the Olympic Games in Mexico more than 200 students and others demostrators were killed by the army.

Adolfo Mexiac (1927 – 1986) printmaker,
Libertad de expresión (Freedom of expression) – linocut
1954, reprint 21st century – 129/1000
Image: 39.5 cm x 29.5 cm
Sheet: 50 cm x 42 cm
Mexican school
Νο 1070 – Acquisition 2010