Rótulos of Cuauhtémoc: The Whitewashing of Vernacular Signs in Mexico City

The food stalls in Cuauhtémoc are having their hand-painted signs erased by order of the mayor.

Hand-painted food stand.
Super Tortas Cuauthemoc, Mexico City. Photo: Bryan Yonki.

Since early May, the community of Cuauhtémoc in Mexico City has united to condemn the sudden disappearance of hand-painted signs in the area. Their removal started in February by order of the new mayor, Sandra Cuevas, in an attempt to establish “order and discipline” in the borough. About 1,500 street stands have now been 'cleaned', and stamped with the new administration’s logo.

Before and after the mayor's order. Photos via The Brand Inquirer.

Lost Identity & Resistance

These signs are an integral part of the city's visual identity. Its inhabitants have grown fond of their colourful imagery as they stroll down the main avenues searching for the perfect torta—the traditional sandwich that most of the stands sell.