Checking in with Panteón Cultural Center in Mexico City, where we first took you when it was inaugurated in 2017, we find street artist/ fine artist Said Dokins participating in a large exhibition and a new mural for the storied interior. It’s reassuring to see “This is not the end of the world,” the title of the collective show featuring many Mexican artists in this venue that is refined and raw and at least in some ways community based – Not such a typical scene these days.
Here in this grizzled colonial complex that deliberately preserves its unfinished character, you can now see the expansive use of Dokins poetry within the stylized calligraffiti, sacred circular wreaths, and dynamic diagonals racing across fresh canvasses and battered walls of this historic property lying in the middle of the oldest, crusty colonial part of CDMX.
In collaboration with Gama Gallery, the artist also creates his mural Winter Language (video at bottom), into which he “decided to place some writings, ideas, and poems that came into my mind about the difficult times we’re living in, where uncertainty lurks, and the hope of a new cycle still permeates some of us.”
It’s been a rough winter in Mexico City. The pandemic pushes people apart, and a fractured national response to it lead to many illnesses, with many family members left behind, many futures newly uncertain. When the travails are so harsh, is there any wonder that many of us are now turning to poetry, philosophy, and the comfort of religious traditions?
“This winter in Mexico, between the sounds of ambulances, desperate messages looking for oxygen,” Said says, only compounded the dystopia, along with the “psychological numbness before the tragedy and the fiction of individual good sense; while criticizing our neighbors, getting angry with different groups, society, or the government. We are leaving behind family, friends, and people that we love.” The words march and fall in lines through our heads and crosswise on these walls.