15 Jul 2022


How painting encourages the need to challenge: “Echo of a Scream” by David Alfaro Siqueiro

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Academic level: College

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“Echo of a Scream” is David Alfaro Siqueiros's masterpiece painting created in 1937 at the time of Mexican revolution. Through the dark colors and texture, viewers can predict that the artist is concerned with an unpleasant era in human existence. The painting is dark with a large African baby face in agony, mouth wide open and head enlarged with the ground having elements of broken canyon, shells, dark clouds and shrapnel indicating the warzone. Additionally, the baby cloth is red, indicating the loss of life with blood oozing from the body as a result of the war. 

Learning about Siqueiros work is instrumental in striving for advocacy through a career in art. Siqueiros could have chosen silence yet he decided to challenge the government and mistreatment of people. Despite his talent, he painted part of his work in prison for political convictions in the Mexican revolution (Martin & Jacobus, 2018). Similarly, the painting encourages the need to challenge that which is not exerted for the greater good of society. Through a career in art, I will create pieces that uplifts human dignity in simple ways that elevate who we are and at the same time, become a voice for change. 

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Indeed, philosophy positively influenced the perception and reception of the art giving room to deeper understanding. The painting appeal to pathos and ethics invoking emotionality to comprehend human suffering. With war, there is a tragedy of loss that is reflected in the child's agony and tears. Indeed the goal of pathos is to achieve an emotional connection and reaction from the audience which the painting manages to do. Although the visuals can be disturbing to some extent, it forces the audience to look beyond their issues and look out for the future and the well-being of those who will live it. For instance, even after adults engage in the wars, children suffer the consequences the most. 

Also, art discipline influenced in-depth understanding of a different era in human life. Siqueiros did not have to be a politician to inspire the revolution, but his talent though art gave him power to influence people, question authority, and denounce wars. Still, with craft, audiences can translate the images in the way it speaks to them in different time frames. For instance, although the work was created decades ago in the 20th century, people in the 21st century can still form perceptions about the current social problems as outlined in the painting. As such, art is limitless, ageless allowing expansion of thoughts from local to global understanding. 

Nonetheless, Art course will have a positive personal impact invoking greater responsibilities in our environment. Through learning, I have an individual role to play in helping people understand issues in their emotionality and physicality, which can help bridge the information gap. For instance, through a piece of art, Siqueiros used all aspects of the war, including destruction, and grief to open people's minds to the world. 

Career-wise, I am encouraged to challenge boundaries, use creativity, intuition and branding to find unorthodox ways to advocate for matters facing society. Indeed, Stamkou et al. (2018) agree that deviant artists with a progressive style have more significant career impact. For instance, Echo of a Scream in its depiction advocates for a revolution but pays close attention to details, creativity to include all elements of color, background and imagery of human life through a child. In all, the message of the Spanish civil war is painted vividly. Similarly, other than choosing silence, art will be more impactful to a career for what it offers society in engagement with the world for success and fulfilment. 


Martin, F. D., & Jacobus, L. A. (2018). The humanities through the arts. New York: McGraw-Hill Education. 

Stamkou, E., van Kleef, G. A., & Homan, A. C. (2018). The art of influence: When and why deviant artists gain impact.  Journal of personality and social psychology 115 (2), 276. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). How painting encourages the need to challenge: “Echo of a Scream” by David Alfaro Siqueiro.


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