A Mural in San Miguel de Allende
by Robin Mullen

When I am in San Miguel de Allende, a stop at the Instituto Allende is a must. This is one of the highlights when I am leading one of my guided walking tours with my group. This large mural is by David Leonardo who moved to San Miguel from Mexico City.

This expansive mural, "Ignacio Allende y La Historia de Mexico," depicts the history of Mexico with General Igancio Allende having a prominent position in the center. Allende, along with Father Hidalgo, were major forces behind the independence of Mexico from Spain.

This section of the mural shows some of Cortez's men and Fray Toribio de Benavente, a Franciscan missionary and historian from Spain. He had a reputation of defending the rights of the Indigenous people which led to conflicts with the authorities. Being a historian, he left behind journals about the life and struggles between the Aztec civilization and those from Spain. He was nicknamed "Motolinia" which in the Aztec language, Nahuatl, means "unfortunate" or "miserable."

Another important figure in Mexican history is Emiliano Zapata who fought for the rights of the peasant and his motto was "Tierra y Libertad" - "Land and Freedom." He was an ally of another hero of Mexico, Pancho Villa. Leonardo's faces, colors and the movement of the mural are mesmerizing. You could sit in front of it for hours. It's a great history lesson on Mexico without having to take a test!

June 7, 2010: Through the gates is a new mural at the Instituto Allende that is a work in progress by Leonardo. This part of the mural is called "The Triumph of Art." He hopes to have this 250 square meter mural completed by September 16. The 16th marks the date of the Bicentennial 2010 celebration for it was 200 years ago that Mexico claimed its independence from Spain.

If you are interested in joining me on one of my guided tours of San Miguel and the surrounding areas, please contact me at wrobindsg @ aol . com