“Constructing Nationhood – The politics of History, Struggle and Identity” - Diego Rivera and ‘The History of Mexico’
Desmond Rochfort is a graduate of both the Royal Academy of Art in London in the UK, where he obtained his graduate degree in painting, as well as the Royal College of Art in London.
During the 1970's and 1980's he became one of Britain's leading public mural artists, and executed a number of the most important and well known mural commissions painted in Britain during that period. Today he continues his practice as a muralist and painter.
In 1986 he received his Ph.D. from the Royal College of Art in London for his pioneering research, conducted in Mexico and the United States, on the 20th century history of the Mexican Mural painting movement, and in particular for his work on the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Acknowledged as one of the leading international scholars outside of Mexico on the History of Mexican Mural Painting, Desmond Rochfort has travelled extensively throughout Mexico, the United States, and Latin America conducting research over the last 25 years on the History of the Mexican mural movement and public mural painting in general.
His articles and books have been published in Europe, as well as the United States, Mexico and Australia. Translated into Spanish and Italian, his major book, Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, is now in its 5th printing and is widely used as required reading and as a text book for Latin American cultural studies courses in Universities in the United States. And, in Mexico itself it is the best selling book on the history of the country's mural painting movement. In September 2003 the Chinese edition of the book was published by the Tsingua University Press in Beijing
While living in the United Kingdom, Dr. Rochfort curated, or was principle advisor and consultant to several major international exhibitions of Mexican Art held in the United Kingdom, including the first retrospective exhibition in Britain, held at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford of the Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco in 1981, the landmark retrospective of Diego Rivera held at the Haywood Gallery in London 1987, and most recently the exhibition of the work of Siqueiros held at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1997. He was also the principle advisor and consultant for the 1987 BBC Arena series TV documentary on the life and work of Diego Rivera. And most recently he was consultant and advisor to the exhibition Viva Mexico! Featuring the work of Diego Rivera held at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary Alberta Canada
During his time in Britain Desmond Rochfort taught at the Chelsea School of Art in London where he became the Director of the school's graduate program in Public Art and Design. Since 1990 he has held senior administrative positions at the University of Alberta as the chair of the department of Art and Design, as President at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and as the Head of the school of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lethbridge in 2008.
attached image: Diego Rivera, The History of Mexico, 1929