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Exhibition Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times

Enrique Chagoya (b. 1953). El regreso del canibal macrobiótico [Return of the Macrobiotic Cannibal], 1998. Codex book in eight sheets: lithograph and woodcut on chine collé. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress © Enrique Chagoya, used by permission (037.00.00)

The Power of Perspective

The idea that history is told by the victors of wars recurs in Enrique Chagoya’s artwork, which humorously questions and counters received wisdom. Return of the Macrobiotic Cannibal weaves a time-warping narrative in which Pre-Columbian mythological beings appear alongside American comic book characters. A Catholic/Mesoamerican priest is featured quoting Hippocrates: Ars longa, vita brevis est—Art is long, life is short. Nearby, twentieth-century naval ships face off against indigenous “cannibals” as envisioned in a 1621 image by German engraver Wolfgang Kilian (1581–1662).