DIA MURALS:      INTRODUCTION      BROCHURE      RIVERA COURT      EAST      WEST      EXIT  




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Murals: West


The themes from the east wall are carried over to the west wall where technology, represented by aviation, is a productive and destructive force. The upper center panel consists of a passenger plane (left and therefore oriented east and saved) and a warplane (right and therefore oriented west and damned). In case the symbolism was not clear enough to the viewer, Rivera made his point again by placing workers constructing the plane on the left near the passenger planes and workers with gas masks on next to the warplane. These images represented what had just happened in Detroit (just after Rivera arrived, Ford announced its largest commercial transport plane) and eerily, what was to come (Ford became the primary supplier of warplanes during World War II). Just below the register with the planes, Rivera reminded his audience that technology imitates nature by placing a dove feeding on an insect on the left and a hawk feeding on other birds on the right. The middle register was painted in monochrome gray which makes it appear as if it were engraved in the wall. In this panel, Rivera provided his strongest argument for the interdependence of North and South America. Rivera viewed his art as an uniquely American (both continents) product and urged Americans to become aesthetically independent and appreciate the "Old World" of the Americas.



Rivera illustrates the relationship between the Americas by portraying the movement of materials and people in a fictitious body of water connecting an industrial port in Detroit and the rainforest of Brazil. The Latin Americans are collecting sap to make latex for Ford tires and the Americans are in front of the Detroit skyline, preparing cranes to remove materials from the freight ships. Race boats, equal in size to the fish in the water, pass in front of the large freight ships. Through this imagery Rivera again demonstrates how technology imitates nature, while also almost equating Latin Americans with nature. Half of a head (modeled after George Washington) floats in the center left side of the panel, above the water. On the right, opposite the head, half of a skull floats above the water. The half skull, half head image represents the dualism present in indigenous Mexican spirituality, and is another example of how Rivera places technology in the natural and spiritual order. By equating North America's development of technology with the development of ancient civilizations in Latin America, he made technology appear natural.