Artist explains Olmec head crushing a Tesla: "to troll Elon Musk and his new car plant in Mexico"

photo of a Tesla crushed by a giant Olmec head in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City has been making its rounds on social media over the past week, leaving some viewers bewildered. The original Olmec heads, associated with the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica, are giant sculptures—some measuring up to 12 feet tall—made from basalt. I've seen some (or at least their replicas) at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, and they are quite impressive.

So what was happening with the Olmec head and the Tesla? Turns out it's the latest art installation in a series by Mexican artist Chavis Mármol called "Neo-Ta-Memes." Mexico News Daily provides details:

"This is the last in a series of sculptures in which I return to the Olmec heads to talk about specific topics," Mármol wrote on an Instagram post. In a previous part of the series, the artist imitated Mexico's ubiquitous app delivery workers, distributing food from an Olmec head-shaped delivery bag.

The name of the series alludes to tamemes, porters who carried loads on their backs in pre-Columbian times. The word tameme comes from the Nahuatl verb "tlamama," meaning "to carry." Colossal stone heads are the best-known material legacy of the Olmecs, Mesoamerica's first major civilization, whose culture flourished on the Gulf coast beginning in 1200 B.C. 17 of the heads have been found so far.

The sculpture combines humor and criticism, emphasizing the importance of conserving and valuing one's roots.

"The Olmec head imposes itself over the technological object, bursting and crushing it," the artist explained in an accompanying video. The Tesla vehicle, he said, "is just a product of a capitalist system."

In an Instagram post featuring the installation, Mármol states:

"The Olmec head imposes itself before the technological object, it bursts and crushes it and in the end it is glorified before this object, which no matter how technological or how much it is an object of desire, in the end it is just that, just a product of a capitalist system, when In reality what matters is what we came from, what we are and what we have been generation after generation."

In a different Instagram post, Mármol further explains that, "What I was looking for when making this piece was to troll Elon Musk and his new car plant in Mexico, a large-scale meme."

Any artist trolling Elon Musk gets an immediate YES from me!

Read more about the project here and see more of Chavis Mármol's work on his Instagram, including this awesome Olmec head-themed Mr. Potato Head.