Fernando Castro Pacheco and the Palacio de Government

In the city of Merida their lies a hidden gem that contains beautiful artworks by a local painter. In the Government Palace, located in the central plaza, artist Fernando Castro Pacheco has painted thirty-one murals that gained him national notoriety and described, in his own unique way, through artistry the struggle that the Maya had to face throughout the Spanish inquisition and painted figures from Mexican independence as well as figures in the government.

Castro was born in Merida in 1918 and began his formal training at the Mérida Art College at an early age. In it, his talents were noticed. Only a couple of years later he helped in the establishment of the Free School of Plastic Arts in Yucatan. In 1943, Castro moved from his hometown of Merida to the Mexican capital to pursue more prestigious and international exhibits. He was appointed director of the Esmeralda Normal College of Painting and Sculpture after his exhibits had gained fame from across the art world. In 1973, he returned to Merida as an internationally known artist, this helped him in getting a project from the city to paint murals of important figures of Maya and Mexican history. After two years of painting Castro’s legacies were finished and were available for the public to observe.

When you first walk into the Palacio de Government, the first painting you see is the “Social Evolution of Man in Yucatan.” In this mural, he highlights the “Golden Age” of the Maya with representations of worshiping the gods and the construction of Maya temples, the scene continues to show Chilam Balam, who depicted the Spanish Inquisition that was yet to come. Other notable murals include "The Eternal Struggle of Mexico", "Mayan Cosmogony I, II and III", "The Suicide of Jacinto Canek", "The Triumph of the Republic" , "Sale of Indians" and "War of Breeds". In all of these murals you can identify certain elements that reflect Maya symbolism and social injustices such as indigenous oppression and enslavement during the henequen boom in the Yucatecan entity.

On August 8, 2013 Fernando Castro Pacheco died at the age of 95, leaving an artistic legacy in drawings, watercolors, oils and sculptures that continue to amaze people every day.