Toledo, Francisco

Toledo, Francisco,

1940–2019, Mexican artist and activist, b. Francisco Benjamín López Toledo. He drew upon his Zapotec heritage for his paintings, drawings, prints, collages, ceramics, and tapestries, employing native plants and animals, both realistic and fantastical, in ways that give his works a shamanistic quality. Mexican myths and folk tales, eroticism, and masks also feature in his art, and he created hundreds of self portraits. A philanthropist and crusader for the preservation of Oaxaca city, he established a graphic arts institute, museums of contemporary and photographic art, a botanical garden, and several libraries, including one for the blind. He also led protests for social causes, especially against the gentrification and commercialization of historic Oaxaca and the rise of organized crime and government corruption in Mexico. A notable late work is a series of kites (2014) with portraits of 43 student-teachers who were arrested by police and handed over to a criminal gang and murdered in Guerrero.
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