Friday, June 21, 2024

‘Amajac’ replica to be erected alongside CDMX feminist monument

A reproduction of “The Young Woman of Amajac” — a pre-Columbian sculpture discovered in a Veracruz field in January 2021 — will be erected near an existing feminist installation in Mexico City at a roundabout on Reforma Avenue and not in place of it, the city’s Mayor Martí Batres announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes after two years of controversy about the planned installation of the Amajac replica to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus, taken down by the city in 2020 after protesters threatened to pull it down. The idea to install the replica in Columbus’ place was first proposed by former mayor Claudia Sheinbaum in 2021 after the statue’s discovery but immediately met with pushback from activist groups.

Joven de Amajac 2021
The original “Young woman of Amajac” has been hailed as one of the most significant archeological finds in Mexico in recent years. (Galo Cañas/Cuartoscuro)

On Thursday, Batres said that the two statues would coexist on Reforma Avenue where the existing feminist installation, named “Justice,” stands. Plans presented by the city show the statues standing across the street from each other, each on their own road island.

While little is known about the Amajac artifact — named after the village in which it was found in Veracruz — the National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) has dated it to the late Postclassical period, between 1450 and 1521. 

INAH researchers believe that the woman depicted was likely a political or elite figure and is possible evidence of female involvement in pre-Columbian political life in the region. 

The existing “Justice” installation, dubbed an “anti-monument” by activists, was erected by feminist collectives in September 2021 and features a purple silhouette of a woman with her arm raised defiantly on the plinth where the Columbus statue once stood.  

Amajac monument, Reforma
The new installation appears to be on a separate island at the junction on busy Reforma Avenue in Mexico City. (Gobierno de CDMX)

When Sheinbaum announced in February the revived plan to install the Amajac replica on the Columbus plinth, activists said that removing the “Justice” installation would lessen the meaning that the roundabout has come to have for feminist groups. On Thursday, Batres stressed that the city government will discuss the matter with feminist collectives.

“We have always sought dialogue,” he said. “We have not necessarily found an answer, but we do not want any confrontation.”

He called the decision to install the replica “a tribute to the struggle of Indigenous communities and particularly Indigenous women.”

“It is an acknowledgment of the strength of Indigenous women and therefore it is very important that it be in the area because [the site] was previously known as the Columbus Monument … Now it has other meanings and symbols,” he said. 

With reports by Forbes and Sin Embargo 

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