Siqueiros chose subjects that dealt with polemical issues of his time. Originally subtitled In Contemporary China, this work features a Chinese woman, stripped, bound, and shot in the head. A monumentalized martyr, her massive, sculptural body fills the closely cropped composition. Of Los tres grandes ("the big three" Mexican muralists)—Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Diego Rivera—Siqueiros was the youngest and the most politically radical. His artistic career was repeatedly interrupted by his fervent political activity and frequent imprisonment. He fought in the revolutionary army during the Mexican Revolution (1910–20); in the 1920s he organized a mineworkers union; in late 1936 he joined the Republicans to fight against fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39); and, as an ardent Stalinist, he helped orchestrate an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Leon Trotsky in 1940.
Gallery label from 2011.