Thursday, October 11, 2007
El Dia de la Resistencia Indigena
CONQUEST AND CAPITALISM 1492-1992
When I painted the illustration for the cover of my book (Big Picture Books, 1992), I dreamed of a day when we would be celebrating resistance and liberation instead of capitalist conquest on the 12th of October. Well, dreams do come true. Tomorrow in Venezuela will be the Day of Indigenous Resistance. I´m hoping that Evo Morales will also be celebrating in Bolivia.
The figures depicted above were being herded into the silver mines in Potosi, Peru (now part of Bolivia) in the 16th century. The third chapter of Conquest and Capitalism begins with a pen and ink version of this picture and reads:
1573 - Potosi, sitting at about 14,000 feet altitude in the Andes, had become a city of 120,000 people. It was probably the most expensive city on earth, and certainly the cruelest:
On Sunday morning the Indians emerged from the mines, they drank, they danced, and then they collapsed on the ground.
On Monday morning they were beaten with iron bars and herded into the mountain where they crept many miles, deeper and deeper into the darkness.
For six days bent over in the dust and the smoke, they mined for silver with their picks and shovels.
On Saturday night they started walking, retracing their steps through the seemingly endless tunnels, so that they might emerge again on Sunday morning.
1600 - a priest who was new in Potosi exclaimed: I don´t want to see this portrait of hell!
So close your eyes! said another Spaniard.
I can´t, with my eyes shut I see even more.
Posted by steve brouwer at 10:58 AM