Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) by Nicolás de Jesús, Mexico aquatint on amate paper 19" high x 9.5" wide (paper size)
Nicolas de Jesus (born December 6, 1960) is a Mexican artist from the Nahua region of Guerrero, Mexico. His work carries themes of Mexican rural life as well as politics and world events. The celebration Dia de los Muertos is a common subject in his art.
de Jesús developed his art through his parents and his community of Ameyaltepec. Painting on amate (bark) paper is the preferred medium of expression of local traditions. His work reflects the spectrum of his experiences from his origins in a traditional Mexican Village, to his concern for preserving cultural identity, to the complex problems of Mexican immigrants, and the politics in Mexico and the United States.
Art activist Felipe Ehrenberg started to teach Nicolás etching and other printing techniques. The young artist combined these new mediums with his already adopted traditional amate paper compositions. Many of these works feature whimsical, detailed characters with the perspective of great distances and close up views.
The reoccurring theme in the traditional Amayaltepec amate is everyday village life—its celebrations and beliefs. After moving to Chicago in the 1980s, de Jesús additionally started to depict urban life in the United States in the same manner. His work reveals a deep political awareness such as transgenic agriculture, repression, migration and war. The artist recognizes the work of Mexican engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada as a major source of inspiration, both for the satirical aspects of his work and for his social engagement.
de Jesús’ work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions including the South Bend Museum of Art, IN, Neuberger Museum of Art, NY, and the Arlington Art Center, VA.