Christopher Columbus’s statue
With plans to upgrade a long-standing statue to Christopher Columbus, Mexico enters the long list of nations grappling with a post-colonial reckoning with troublesome historical characters. The 19th-century bronze sculpture of the contentious scientist was formerly situated on one of Mexico City’s major streets, Paseo de la Reforma, but it was taken down by city officials in October for planned restoration. Since then, its pedestal has remained empty, and it now appears that the Columbus monument will never again occupy its illustrious position.
The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, declared that the monument of Christopher Columbus would be removed on September 5, the International Day of Indigenous Women. We have a duty to them. She said during a ceremony commemorating the anniversary, “They are the reason we live. It is our nation’s and our homeland’s heritage.
The new statue, to be named “Tlalli” (Nahuatl for “earth”) and allegedly portray an Olmec woman, has been commissioned by the city from Mexican artist Pedro Reyes. The Olmecs, some of Mesoamerica’s first recorded residents, built the region’s first well-known large civilisation in what is now Mexico. Reyes told the committee, “If anyone can educate us how to take care of this world, it’s our native peoples, and that is exactly what we must learn again. It’s very vital to dedicate a memorial to Indigenous women and to the Earth.”
The new statue is anticipated to be finished by October 12, which is Columbus Day, or Dia de la Raza as it is known in Mexico. Meanwhile, the monument of Christopher Columbus will be relocated to a less noticeable resting spot in a little garden in the Polanco district of the city.
Mexico City announced plans to swap out a contentious monument of Christopher Columbus for a memorial by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes honouring Indigenous women.
Since the monument’s pedestal was taken away in October of last year for a planned refurbishment, it has remained empty. This October, the new memorial will be finished.