Women’s rights activists in Torreón, Coahuila, have blasted the municipal government for the installation of a sculpture made of pots and pans in a square that was inaugurated as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.
Located in front of the Municipal Institute of Women (IMM), La Plaza de la Mujer (Women’s Square) was officially opened yesterday by Mayor Jorge Zermeño Infante.
Two back-to-back “árboles de sartenes” (frying pan trees) made by students from the Center of Visual Arts at the Coahuila Autonomous University are prominent in the square.
Written testimonies of women who have suffered gender-based violence appear inside the painted pots and pans.
Patricia González de Santiago, director of the Center of Visual Arts, described the sculpture as “relational art” whose aim is to provoke reflection about the issue of violence against women.
But others took a different view about the artwork and the new square.
“As if there were no more urgent things, Mayor Jorge Zermeño inaugurated a women’s square that is not needed and which reaffirms gender roles,” wrote women’s collective, Feminist Activists of La Laguna, on Facebook.
Adriana Romo, a member of the La Laguna Women’s Network, described the artwork as “absurd.”
“. . . It’s International Women’s Day and they [the municipal government] come out with these things . . . It can’t be possible that they’ve revealed a sculpture with pots and pans,” she said.
Romo charged that the pots and pans in the sculpture are symbolic of a stereotype of women that the feminist movement has tried to eradicate, and criticized the use of public money for the creation of the artwork and square.
“As if there were no urgent and pressing needs to improve the living conditions of women, they do something absurd, something ridiculous . . . and [then] they say that we didn’t understand the work. It’s disappointing and regrettable that in the 21st century they have installed this absurdity,” she said.
However, Romo added that that the municipal government’s unveiling of the artwork hadn’t surprised her because the Zermeño-led administration has a poor record on women’s issues.
“This is an administration that doesn’t care about the situation of women and which has been insensitive and negligent,” she said.