Nuestra America at Federico Luger Gallery, Milan On view until end of June 018
Text extract used for the wall painting. Two first paragraphs of Nuestra America. José Martí, Published in El Partido Liberal (Mexico City), January 20, 1891The pompous villager thinks his hometown is the whole world. As long as he can stay on as mayor, humiliate the rival who stole his sweetheart, and watch his nest egg grow in its strongbox, he believes the universe is in good order. He knows nothing of the giants in seven-league boots who can crush him underfoot, the battling comets in the heavens which devour the worlds that lie sleeping in their paths. Whatever is left in América of such drowsy provincialism must awaken. These are not times for lying comfortably in bed. Like Juan de Castellanos’ men, we must have no other pillow but our weapons—weapons of the mind, which vanquish all others. Fortifications built of ideas are more valuable than those built of stone.
No armored prow can smash through a cloud of ideas. A vital idea brandished before the world at the right moment like the mystic banner of Judgment Day can stop a fleet of battleships. Nations that remain strangers must rush to know one another, like soldiers about to go into battle together. Those who once shook their fists at each other like jealous brothers quarreling over who has the bigger house or who owns a plot of land must now grip each other so tightly that their two hands become one. Those who took land from a conquered brother —a brother punished far in excess of any crime—and who, under protection of a criminal tradition, smeared their swords in the same blood that flows through their own veins must now return their brother’s land if they don’t want to be known as a nation of plunderers. A man of honor does not collect a debt of honor in money, at so much per slap. We can no longer be a village of leaves fluttering in the air, crowned in flowers, creaking and buzzing under the caress of capricious sunlight or thrashed and felled by tempests. The trees must line up to block the giant in his seven-league boots. The hour to muster and march in unison is upon us and our ranks must be as compact as the veins of silver in the depths of the Andes. (…)
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