Mexico’s Random Rock Art
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200 • f 5.6 • 1/320 sec
Driving around Juárez, Mexico, I kept seeing these odd drawings all over the mountains. Were these some part of the culture or did some person just have too much time on their hands? Were they just random or did they have a meaning?
Historically, rock art is categorized as either pictographs (paintings on rock) or petroglyphs (designs carved into the rock). The images in Juárez are from the first category, since they were made of thousands of gallons of whitewash. That’s enough to make Tom Sawyer proud! I never was able to figure out what the drawing in today’s photo was supposed to be (if you figure it out, let me know!). However, three other drawings were easier to determine.
Passing through the area at night, I saw what looked like a giant string of Christmas lights illuminating a huge portrait on the side of one mountain. This was the Mexican President Benito Juárez. The painting was commissioned in 1996 to celebrate his bicentennial birthday. The architect who made the painting, Héctor García Acosta, claimed, “It’s the work of a plastic surgeon. If you change the ridge of the nose just slightly, it changes the whole expression. The first time we did it, the nose was too big and he looked like (the late movie actor) Jimmy Durante. Then we changed and he looked like a boxer. The third time, we got it right.” Good! I bet it would be creepy to constantly be stared at by a man that looked like a boxer. ‘~’
Another of Acosta’s more well-known works is a giant white horse on the side of another mountain. This painting was a copy of the Uffington White Horse in England, now grown to over a half mile in length and taking three years to complete. There is a lot of debate on the meaning of the horse and why it was carved in England, but artists all over the world have been making copies for years. Finally, the third drawing is a lizard on a mountain right by the horse. Lizards are just cool like that.
Have you ever seen mountain art when traveling? What about in caves or on rocks?