La Grande Invasion — Les zapatistes en Europe — le virus de la résistance et de la rébellion


Painting, photography, mixed media

La Grande Invasion
Les zapatistes en Europe — le virus de la résistance et de la rébellion

Past: June 6 → July 18, 2021

When the announcement was made that the Zapatistas were coming to Europe, we spontaneously wanted to show our solidarity with their struggle and continue our commitment to their community. The opportunity that we had to share it with students of the University of Paris 8 seemed to us as natural as it was exciting. This exhibition, like the one we devoted to the Zapatistas in 2018 and that of the Zadists of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, fits legitimately into the gallery’s programming. Our first hope is to be able to receive Zapatistas from the delegation in the gallery to learn from their struggle and their life force.
The construction of a large patchwork table by the students of Paris 8, and the accompanying seating, symbolizes the diversity and differences that constitute us and our ability to formulate responses with the means at hand. What counts above all is not the aesthetic value of a realization but the implication of the participants to be at one with a cause to understand the ins and outs. Novices in the construction of furniture, the students of the university’s art and photography departments have shown an uncommon ardor to build this set. Delighted to be back together after many months of distance learning, we also had the pleasure of working collectively to give a warm and dignified welcome to our friends from Chiapas.

Fighting to see the emergence of “a world that can contain other worlds”.
Far from a globalizing and imperialist vision of the universe, the Zapatista movement fights to establish a Pluriverse: a universe that encompasses the multitude of stories and experiences on Earth. The movement then shapes imaginaries, and makes them concrete through action, struggle and combat. Day by day, the Zapatistas have made possible a justice for the living, claiming the right to life and the right to territory. Because the territory is the matrix of life, and it is in it that the gestures, the customs and the imaginary, the community, the collective and the group meet.
Thus since 1911, Emiliano Zapata insisted against the spoliation and the kidnapping of the lands by the Mexican state plunging the indigenous people, essentially peasants, in misery. In the early 1990s, the Zapatistas mobilized against five hundred years of colonization by the Spaniards and their slavery practices, not to mention the French interventions in the 19th century, and later, by American imperialism, the spearhead of globalized capitalism.

Capitalism, neo-liberalism and then imperialism stifle indigenous peoples and cultures, as well as gender and racial minorities. To affirm the right to be different, they founded the EZLN, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. On January 1, 1994, in the depths of the Lacandon Jungle, they chanted “Ya Basta!”: the Zapatistas declare war on the Mexican army, with their weapons under their arms and wearing balaclavas.

Although the Zapatistas have tried to establish a dialogue with the legislative and executive powers, it has ended in failure: the Mexican authorities have continued to betray the San Andres Accords, signed in 1996, which were supposed to guarantee rights and recognition of indigenous culture. It is therefore with civil society that the Zapatistas are organizing themselves into free and autonomous communities, of which the caracoles (snail) are the symbol.
In June, the Zapatista journey, or should we say, the invasion of the Zapatistas in Europe, begins. This is the first time they have left their territory since reclaiming their lands in 1994. Like the spiral of a snail’s shell, the Zapatista virus is spreading from caracoles to caracoles, from town to town, from city to region, from country to planet, from bottom to top.

It is our turn to welcome them around a large table and a few seats made with very little means. This exhibition is also the result of a workshop organized by Dominique Mathieu with students from Paris 8. For a week, the students occupied the Gare des Mines station in order to think and build together scenographic elements that would welcome the Zapatistas and their struggle. We are now ready to receive the delegation to present their struggles, their artistic works and to think about a common future.

Margaux Hopkins Student in Master 1 at the University of Paris 8 — Vincennes / Saint-Denis EDAM (Ecology of Arts and Media) & Salle Principale, 2021

the gallery thanks Rocío Martinez, Jérôme Baschet, Florence Bonnefous / Air de Paris, Bruno Serralongue and all the team of La Station — Gare des mines

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28, rue de Thionville

75019 Paris

T. 33 9 72 30 98 70


Opening hours

Wednesday – Friday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Zapatistes