Projects  >   Art   >   Mexico: a country in search for its identity

Mexico: a country in search for its identity

Year: 2008

Authorship: Victor Hugo Cabanas


En todas sus dimensiones, de frente y de perfil, en su pasado y en su presente, el mexicano resulta un ser cargado de tradición que, acaso sin darse cuenta, actúa obedeciendo a la voz de la raza...“”

(Octavio Paz).

In all his dimensions, in front and in profile, in his past and present, the Mexican is burdened with his tradition, that, without even realizing it, he acts obeying to his race...

(Octavio Paz).


Mexico is a country full of contradictions: melancholy vs euphoria; solitude vs collectivity; a religious sense of life vs cinicism are just some of its many dichotomies.

The country rose from the union of two different cultures (Indigenous and Spanish) and yet Mexicans deny their local origins, experiencing a never ending “sense of lack”.

Since they feel they are constitutionally missing something, their life is a continuos quest.


Like the Mexican poet Octavio Paz did with “The Labyrinth of Solitude”, Victor Hugo Cabanas' illustrations represent his country's most contradicting issues with the strong objectivity and rationality due to the geographical distance between Treviso and his Motherland.

Five illustrations telling about what being Mexican means, in a evocative language that fits well with the contemporary situation of this wonderful, problematic country.


1. The Mexican identity

Mexico's identity is very recognizable worldwide. Apparently Mexicans are proud of their Spanish roots, of tequila, of chili, of their  aesthetics and their relation to death.

On the other hand, since they have a mixed ethnicity (“Mestizos”), resulting from the union of Spanish and Indigenous people, they feel ashamed of their origins and avoid every contact with the native population.


2. To be Mexican

Most Mexicans suffer from a inferiority complex and are "malinchists": they deny and mock the Indigenous culture, even if it's at the roots of their present.


3. To be an Indigenous woman in Mexico

The Indigenous woman has no precise identity: she is not purely Spanish, and neither purely Indigenous anymore. As a victim of denigration and humiliation, her life swings between these two poles, waiting for the future to provide her with a function in society.


4. Repression in Mexico

Even if Mexicans love to celebrate the Revolution Day and their liberation in 1910, repression is still present among their lives.

Repression is not only a question of governements, it's also a question of society. The people themselves can be self-repressive.


5. Education in Mexico

The leftover apple, as metaphor of the educational system, shows ignorance as one of Mexico's main problems. 

Equality is far from being a reality as well: whereas the Mexicans read one book a year in average, the Indigenous have rarelly access to education.


Victor Hugo Cabanas: 

“The Labytinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz has been the source of my ispiration for this series of illustrations.

Rather than giving visual solutions or answers to the issue, they try to generate questions, from my point of view, about what being Mexican means today".


Hugo is a Mexican graphic designer. His personality fits perfectly with his country's essence: infact, although his illustrations are strongly dramatic and communicative, he prefers not to talk about himself and sign his work as "an Anonymous Mexican", still looking for his identity.







Photo gallery

Click thumbnails to see photo gallery
Project tags