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This visual language serves to propagate ideals and a positive vision of the future, encouraging resistance against the oppressive forces, and cultivating a pride in the construction of a healthier alternative. Murals in the US, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba (among others) have done just that, inspiring people to continue defying the repressive forces which attempt to crush their freedoms. One of the most notable things about Zapatista communities in Chiapas is the presence of colourful murals that proclaim the ideals of the movement. The heroes honoured, the slogans, and the symbolism chosen for the walls all provide inspiration and validation to continue the struggle towards the construction of their autonomy.
The images chosen for these public pieces are of cultural and historical figures, the power of the people against the odds, and utopian views of a collective future. In places where there exist high-levels of marginalization and illiteracy, such as here in Chiapas, images play an important role in education, "concientizacion" and self-awareness, especially among the youth. Historical and contemporary events can be "told" using pictures, often more effectively because of its permanency on a public surface. Imagery also leads to further questioning and understanding within a community about the historical events which have led a people to their current social and political position.
In the words of a community member: