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Outcry forces Mexico City to remove Pedro Reyes from indigenous women memorial

Merely a week after Mexico City announced a sculpture of indigenous women by Pedro Reyes to replace a Columbus status, an outcry forced the replacement of the sculptor.

Last week, Mexico City announced that the statue of Christopher Columbus in the city, long seen as a symbol of colonization, will be taken down. It would be replaced by a sculpture celebrating indigenous women. The artist chosen for the task was Pedro Reyes, who had almost finished making the bust.

The earlier Columbus status at the location

However, there was soon an outcry from the art community regarding the art community. A group of female artists wrote an open letter to Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City. While the letter thanked the city for the step, it also criticized the decision to hire Pedro Reyes. According to them, it was inadmissible that Reyes, who was neither female nor indigenous, would be behind a sculpture celebrating indigenous women. The letter was signed by some 400 other artists.

Taking cognizance of the situation, mayor Sheinbaum said in a press conference that the choice of artist for re-designing the Paseo de la Reforma (the spot where the status stood earlier) will be left in the hands of a newly established committee. The committee, which comprises scholars, museum representatives, and government members, will likely make a final decision in the next few days.

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Sheinbaum also thanked Pedro Reyes for his work and promised that his bust would be relocated to another part of the city. Reyes didn’t post any comment on this entire development.