Mexican government to mediate dispute over painting of hero

A tourist takes photos of a painting by Mexican artist Fabian Chairez showing Mexican Revolution hero Emiliano Zapata straddling on a horse nude, wearing high heels and a pink, broad-brimmed, during an interview at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he'll ask his culture minister to mediate a dispute over an effeminate painting of Zapata. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s culture minister will mediate a dispute over an effeminate painting of Mexican Revolution hero Emiliano Zapata, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday.

The painting on exhibition at the Fine Arts Palace depicts Zapata nude astride a horse and wearing high heels.

The president said that the painting did not make him uncomfortable, but he conceded that he had not seen it.

Zapata’s descendants have said they feel it denigrates his memory. López Obrador said they should be heard, but artists can’t be censored.

A protest in defense of the painting was scheduled for later Wednesday. On Tuesday, about 100 farmers stormed the building in protest of the painting and later scuffled with a small counter-protest in defense of sexual diversity.

The work by Fabian Chairez is part of an exhibit about Zapata in one of Mexico City’s premiere arts venues.

The artist told local media the painting is not labelled as a portrait of Zapata, who is normally represented in a more macho pose, with a rifle or pistol, and an ammunition belt

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