Zapata Stencil Graffiti by Nico / Industrias Ilegales

"A Chicano kid grows up with walls of many kinds around him. When somebody is born into that situation, there are several things he can do. He can ignore the walls and sink into apathy. Or he can become violent and try to blow up the walls. But there is a third way, a way that people have used for centuries. And that is to perform a kind of ritual magic to neutralize the force of the walls by decorating them with signs, symbols, and art. Chicano street writers choose this third way." - Gusmano Cesaretti, Street Writers (1975)

Nico of Industrias Ilegales, a Chicano street artist from East Los, Aztlan has been decorating the walls that surround his Boyle Heights neighborhood with the mystical power of stencil graffiti. In the tradition of The Basques and the Mexicans who used the same techniques in protests propaganda during the 1970s. Nico has been stenciling the portraiture of Mexican Revolutionary General Emilio Zapata on back alleyways. Zapata was a leader who fought for agrarian law reform and the rights of the working class poor. From la selva Lacandona in Zapatisa occupied zones in Chiapas to the concrete jungles of Los Angeles, Zapata Vive!

Tierra Y Libertad,
Sal Rojas

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Words and Photography by Sal Rojas

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