Mexico: Shadows and Colors


Photography and Text by Zoe Yun Zou


Being colonized for nearly three centuries, Spain had many impacts on the culture and art of Mexico. In Mexico City, intricate facades, open courtyards with fountains and Baroque cathedrals all speak of their Spanish origins. However, just like how Mexicans fought for independence in 1812, with colorful houses running up and down the hill in Guanajuato and the green-white-red flags flying above the National Palace, Mexico seems to declare its independence from European influences in every detail.






The word “colonization” is often associated with pain and destruction. For Mexicans, that history is a series of unforgettable sufferings; yet cruelness of life did not ruin their hope and passions. People responded to the wreck of war and poverty with an expression of distinctness and an optimistic attitude.






Unable to afford splendid mansions, Mexicans painted their houses with the brightest and most joyful colors. Especially in Guanajuato, the city known for its silver mine and being the birthplace for the Independence War, pure red, lime green, saffron yellow, baby pink and pantone blue are all around the town. Unable to resist the influence of other cultures, Mexicans purse individuality by refusing repeated paints. If neighbors have already painted their houses with baby blue, Mexicans will choose another blue.





Although each house has its unique color, together they deliver a feeling of unity. Houses with complimentary colors seated next to each other and various colors balanced themselves well with regards to saturation and hue. Simultaneously, they formed a spectacular scene, like the lost palette of Matisse.




Maybe life is hard. Maybe history is painful. Yet, looking through the dark, Mexicans are always searching for wonderfulness and the colorfulness of life. The past can be remembered and life goes on.


Photography and Text by Zoe Yun Zou, Copyright 2016.


About The Author: Zoe Yun Zou, is a Junior enrolled the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017. To read additional articles by Zoe Yun Zou go here:

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