Scottish, b. 1967
Pictorial Allusions, Reused Blocks: Los 41 Maricones de 1901
(Honga dori: Los 41 Maricones de 1901)
the series title in silver kanj at top left, Honga Dori, with Posada's Spanish title within the composition at the center of the bottom margin, Los 41 Maricones de 1901, with black kanji artist's seal Bin-ni to the left beside Posada's replicated signature, and red artist's seal BINNIE on lower right margin, numbered in pencil on the bottom margin, 3/41, at left, and signed in pencil at right, JG Posada + Paul Binnie, 2022
7 7/8 by 10 5/8 in., 20 by 27.1 cm
This print is the fourth in the ongoing Honga Dori project, a print series featuring antique woodblocks incorporated by Binnie into his own compositions, merging images from the past with the present, although this work is a slight departure in both subject and methodology. The subject is a tribute to persecuted gay men with an adaption of an early 20th century black and white illustration by Mexican broadsheet artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) recording a significant event in queer history known as The Dance of the 41. Without access to Posadas lost original blocks, Binnie created his own keyblock of the design by recarving the image directly from an enlargement copy of a postcard purchased during a trip to Mexico city.
The original image from 1901 was part of a widely published series by Posada accompanying newspaper articles recounting the unprecedented police raid on a private home in a wealthy neighborhood of Mexico City which resulted in the arrest of forty-one men in attendance, some wearing drag, for flaunting their homosexuality. While there were no laws against homosexuality in Mexico at the time, societal pressures were less than tolerant and ensured queer culture was largely kept underground. The arrests came at a time when the Catholic Church's condemnation of homosexuality was highly influential, and not long after high-profile persecutions in Europe, notably the 1895 trials and subsequent incarceration of the famous Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).
'The Dance of the 41' event was considered scandalous and much of the reporting was negative towards those arrested. Posada's title of 'Maricones,' in the original design was a negative slang word for homosexuals, derived from the common female name Maria, using a feminine name to emasculate homosexual men. An alternative English title for Binnie's print might be 'The 41 Marys of 1901', reflecting that etymology and the historical use of the name Mary to indicate a gay person in some English-speaking countries which is not uncommon today, albeit more often as a term of endearment and empowerment in modern usage. Completed by the artist during Pride Month 2022, Binnie chose to invert any homophobic message by depicting the figures in bright colors, resulting in a prideful celebration of their resilience in the face of persecution.
(inv. no. C-3500)
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Scholten Japanese Art
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