The “Closure$” of the Mexican National Team in Iris México’ Art

Why is soccer so important in the spirit of nations? What is it that makes our societies consider it more valuable to pay millions of pesos to athletes than to teachers? Is it a distraction strategy for society to alienate people and lead them to the exaltation of competitiveness and testosterone while diverting them from activities of greater emotional, mental, creative, artistic, spiritual literacy? Who decides that a footballer should or can earn 105 million dollars a year, while many teachers in the world live below the poverty line?

The minimum salary of a soccer player is more than one and a half million Mexican pesos. High-performance athletes, VIPs, earn around one hundred million dollars a year. The Mexican José de Jesús Corona, “humbly” is priced at 14 million dollars annually. In contrast to this reality, teachers in Latin America, Africa, places in “development”, are the worst paid, and many are below the poverty line, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD. In the more developed countries, where they receive a higher salary, they earn around 50 thousand euros a year, they are Luxembourg, Germany, Canada, the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The difference is clear, while VIP teachers earn 50 thousand euros, VIP footballers receive 85 million euros. If we do the math, we remove 5 thousand to 85 million, the difference is 84,995,000.00 Wow, which is practically removing a hair from a cat. In 2019, the “Global Teacher Prize”, known as the “Nobel Prize for Education”, was awarded to the “best teacher in the world”, Peter Tabichi; a science teacher from rural Kenya who donates most of his salary to support the poorest students. He received a million dollars. Cristiano Ronaldo wins the “best teacher in the world” award about 9 times a month. And so world leaders fill their mouths saying that the most important thing is to cultivate youth and childhood to guarantee a better future? Words have no weight if they are not accompanied by policies that land the ideals in practice, and in the budget.

During 2004 – the date of creation of this work – a collection of watches entitled “Passion for Mexico” was offered for sale in Mexico, authorized by the Ministry of the Interior. It was a mere coincidence that this was the title of a market collection approved by the authorities, and of the author’s visual arts project that was censored in the Legislative Palace of San Lázaro. The censorship was by order of Filemón Primitivo Arcos, then director of the Culture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, and of the popular entertainment musical group known as Los Joao. In this way; The coincidences that arose when the work was exhibited, allude to the situation in which various power structures penalize the use of nationality symbols by their citizens or artists, and yet they facilitate or allow it to market or sports stars. Is it due to monetary incentives or the same “strange reason” that footballers are put on a pedestal while the financial needs of educators are “ignored”? Is it that the Nation-State throughout the world is characterized by validating with authorizations, licenses, and millionaire profits, passionately, what is masculine and competitive per se, and being indifferent to the efforts of the workers of art and culture, those who build the cultural heritage of the nation?

Spicy, Hmädi Iris Mexico Valparaíso. Mexican team. 2004. Post-sculptural three-dimensional, 20 x 60 x 80 cm. Soccer balls, Styrofoam, clasps, pins, printed fabric. Exhibitions of the work: 2004, Legislative Palace of San Lázaro, Mexico City. Censored. Later it is exhibited in cultural spaces and galleries in the Condesa neighborhood, Mexico City, and the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca.

Three tricolor balls rest on the image of the Mexican flag. One is green with white, another is red with white, and one more is tricolor, made from the peculiar combination of multiple closures that cover a spherical surface. Is it hiding something that will remain hidden forever, or is it possible to open those closures and discover the message? Given the enormous media and popular influence of sport on the spirit of nations, which allows the creation of sports and entertainment heroes, the artist intends with this work to show less than what is hidden in the systems. Geopolitics and geo-aesthetics are determined beyond goals, the coliseum of brands, and global and interdisciplinary transactions.

Mexican national identity is a historical and cultural reality that offers multiple challenges for its apprehension and understanding. What the artist intends is to explore her identity as a Mexican from a critical, playful, and theoretical, experiential horizon. Immersed in the global language, that self-knowledge that you achieve through your creative effort, can allow you to find lights in such a complex subject. We are in a time of civilizational transformations that cross borders, in which the nation-state paradigm is increasingly flexible in the face of transnational scenarios and of a new order. Assume then; fraternity between nations, both because of the similarity in conflicts and alternative solutions, is a contemporary objective. We must find a fraternal way to sponsor Education as much as now we pay for soccer.

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