Our name Zapanta was inspired by the historical ‘encuentro’ meet between Zapatistas of Chiapas Mexico and The Black Panther Party based out of Oakland, California. Former prime minister of the Black Panther Party Emory Douglas recieved an invitation from art collectives Rigo 23 and EDELO to meet in solidarity with the indigenous Zapatista territory in Chiapas. This entailed a meeting of two autonomous revolutionary groups joining to create art and discuss the critical roles it carries. This encounter was known as Zapantera Negra inclusivity to both groups Zapatistas and ‘Pantera Negra’ Black Panthers. A book has been published named Zapantera Negra by Marc James Léger with insight provided by Emory Douglas that we highly recommend reading. You can purchase at commonnotions.org
“The artists of the Black Panthers and the Zapatistas were born into a centuries-long struggle against racial capitalism and colonialism, state repression and international war and plunder. Not only did these two movements offer the world an enduring image of freedom and dignified rebellion, they did so with rebellious style, putting culture and aesthetics at the forefront of political life.” – commonnotions.org
What is the role of revolutionary art in times of distress?
“Revolutionary art is for the whole community and it’s total problems. It gives the people the correct picture of our struggle, whereas the revolutionary ideology gives the people the correct understanding of our struggle. Before a correct visual representation of our struggle can be given, we must recognize that revolutionary art is an art that flows from the people. We must feel what the people feel throwing rocks and bottles at the oppressor so that when we draw about it we can raise their level of consciousness to hand grenades and dynamite to be launched at the oppressor. It gives a physical confrontation with tyrants, and also enlightens the people to continue their attacks by educating the masses through participation and observation. Revolutionary art can thereby progress as the people progress because the people are the backbone to the artist and not the artist to the people. We can project maximum damage to the oppressor with minimum damage to the people.” – Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party.