In January, 1994, Chiapas exploded. Mexican Native troops under Subcommander Marcos swept through the largest towns in Mexico's poorest state with Emiliano Zapata's old battle cry on their lips: "Land and freedom!" At the very moment when the free trade agreement with the United States and Canada was becoming a reality, the forgotten ghosts of the ancient Native Mexican world were bursting onto the canvas of American history in the name of a revolution betrayed by three generations of generals and speculators.


Quickly, the army was mobilized and dispatched in force to Chiapas. A bloodbath was almost certain. The first gunshots rang out ... Don't shoot! Bishop Samuel Ruiz stood up in the face of the repression. And the people chose a name for Samuel Ruiz: "Tatic," Mayan for "little father."


Inspiration. Tatic was the incarnation of hope for modern times. When Vlady saw Samuel Ruiz on television, he was sure of this. Art must feed on the life force that emerges from human tragedy. But the bishop of Chiapas could not be painted in a studio. Vlady went to stay with him in the jungle and the mountains. He shared the Natives' meagre cornmeal biscuits, spent nights on hard straw pallets, but it didn't matter. Finally, at 75 years of age, he had found a historical model that did not lie. He drew, and as he drew he captured the secrets that tied the Natives of Chiapas to Tatic.


Today, the full-length portrait of Tatic is almost completed. It is a monumental work, along the lines of the triptych devoted to Trotsky, but this subject is a living Trotsky. The struggle yet may be won. Vlady will donate all proceeds from spin-offs associated with the work to the cause of the Natives of Chiapas. On this site, we will keep track of the fate of this work. The rough sketch was made in 1995 on site. The image here represents the stage of completion in 1997. Vlady works on the portrait of Tatic every day.