Adolfo Mexiac Biography

Adolfo Mexiac




Printmaker, muralist, and painter Adolfo Mexiac was born Adolfo Mejía in Cuto de la Esperanza, Michoacán, Mexico, on August 7, 1927. His formal art training began at the Escuela Popular de Bellas Artes, Morelia, where he took courses in painting, and around this time changed his surname to Mexiac. Soon after his time at the Esuela Popular he moved to Mexico City, where he attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Esculta y Grabado, and took three years of engraving at the Escuela de Artes del Libro in Colonia Roma. Among his mentors were Taller de Gráfica Popular members Pablo O'Higgins, Ignacio Aguirre, Leopoldo Mendez, and Luis Arenal.

Mexiac's work primarily dealt with leftist sociopolitical issues, especially after joining the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) in the 1950s. This would bring him to the forefront of Mexican art in the modern world, and his work often incited controversy due to its pointed anti-colonialist, pro-Indigenous nature. As with several graphic artists of the TGP, his work strove to promote the complete freedom of Mexican expression. In 1953 he briefly joined the faculty of the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (now the Instituto Nacional de los Peublos Indígenas, or INPI) in Chiapas, founded in 1948 to integrate rural indigenous voices into the country's national culture through health and education campaigns. In this capacity he created the visual aids for the teachers and doctors who traveled to remote villages throughout Mexico. He then began a 26-year-long teaching career at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas. Mexiac was also a member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana.

Throughout his time as an artist and teacher he frequently exhibited in Mexico and internationally, including in Belgium, Japan, Italy, Chile, and the U.S. He created several major murals including at the INPI, the Study Center for State Reform (Centro de Estudio para la Reforma del Estado), and the Palacio Legislativo in Mexico City. In 2002 he created a mural for the University of Colima titled El hombre y la mujer en armonía con su universo (The man and the woman in harmony with the universe) which has become his most well known mural. In 2010 Mexiac held an exhibition at the Alfredo Guati Rojo National Watercolor Museum titled Una reflexión sobre el Bicentenario in honor of the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence.

Awards and recognition of Mexiac's work include the Casa de las Américas Prize from Cuba (1964); a national homage to the artist presented as a traveling retrospective in 2011, kickstarted at the Museo Nacional de la Estama and which traveled throughout Mexico and Texas; and a documentary film by Othón Salazar about Mexiac titled Libertad de expresión de Adolfo Mexiac in 2010.

Adolfo Mexiac died on October 13, 2019, in Mexico City.