Powerful Images: The Graphics of 68 presents the complete collection held by the MUAC, which was assembled by the members of Grupo Mira and later donated to the University by Arnulfo Aquino.
These posters and banners are a visual testimony to the demands of the movement and their respective image-making bodies. They were conceived to be seen and have an impact in the public sphere. Therefore, the exhibition includes photography and moving image, which shows how the graphic art was inscribed in different spaces.
The images displayed survived censorship and repression, because at that time they were considered to be dangerous tools of subversion. One of their most important functions was as a channel for the circulation of critical information or information that countered the dominant narrative. Mimeographs, graffiti, stencils, and presses were watched over by the State and its mechanisms of control because they lacked real control over content, editions and origins.
All this graphic output had a collective character: crediting the artist was not of foremost importance because the objective was to promote social mobilization. Indeed, anonymity was a security measure when the movement went underground and political repression escalated. Years later, many posters were attributed to specific artists, though this does not change their historical and political significance. We know that the most enduring images were produced by brigades that operated in the Former Academy of San Carlos, part of the UNAM, and in the “La Esmeralda” National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, part of the INBA, where professors and students made the printmaking workshops available to the movement.
This display of images is supplemented by a proposal by the designer and visual artist Alejandro Magallanes: a commission produced especially for this exhibition that functions as a “contemporary visual reprocessing” of these images. Powerful Images: The Graphics of 68 is part of the historical review of the Mira Group—one of the most important political art collectives of the 1970s, made up of some of the artists who produced this graphic art in 1968—which is also on show at the MUAC. Both shows are part of the commemorative program for the 50th anniversary of the 1968 student movement in Mexico.