A statue of an indigenous woman will be installed on a Mexico City avenue at a location where a statue of Christopher Columbus previously stood, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced.
Speaking at an event on Sunday – International Day of the Indigenous Woman – Sheinbaum said that the Columbus statue removed from Paseo de la Reforma for restoration last October will not be returned to the capital’s most emblematic boulevard.
Removed two days before Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) amid threats from protesters to topple it, the almost 150-year-old statue made by French sculptor Charles Cordier will be relocated to Parque América, a park in Mexico City’s affluent Polanco district.
Sheinbuam said the base of the Columbus statue will also be removed to make way for a statue of an Olmec woman made by the artist Pedro Reyes.
“… The Columbus statue will be moved to a worthy place with the authorization of the INAH [National Institute of Anthropology and History] and in its place there will be recognition of the women in our history, especially indigenous women; that’s social justice,” she said.
“Pedro Reyes, who is a great Mexican sculptor, is making a sculpture of the Olmec woman, who is the origin of the origin,” Sheinbaum said.
The Olmec civilization is known as the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica because most scholars believe it was the first in the region and influenced those that emerged in later years.
Sheinbaum acknowledged that the idea to erect the new statue on Paseo de la Reforma – home to numerous monuments and “anti-monuments” – originated in the federal Senate. She rejected any claim that the removal of the Columbus statue is an attempt to erase the history of the Europeans’ arrival in Mexico.
The relocation of the statue is not about “hiding” it, she asserted while acknowledging Columbus as a “great” and “universal” personage.
“Some people think that the Spanish brought civilization to Mexico [but] that’s not true,” Sheinbaum added. “We have centuries of history and that which comes from outside isn’t better. We’re a multicultural nation.”