The controversial Christopher Columbus statue at the center of Mexico City will finally be replaced by a replica of a pre-Hispanic sculpture of an Indigenous woman.
The figure in question dubbed the “Young Woman of Amajac”, was unearthed in January this year near the Gulf of Mexico. It was found in the Amajac village in the Huasteca region. While it is not clear who exactly the figure represents, the National Institute of Anthropology and History suggested it represented a local fertility goddess. Currently, the six-foot carving is located at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. However, the replica will be three times the size and placed on top of the ornate base that originally hosted the Columbus statute.
The statue of Christopher Columbus, which was located at the prime center of Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, was taken down last year for restoration. However, protests soon forced the city administration to announce the permanent removal of the statue. For years, the statue was a target of vandalization and protests for the role of Columbus in the colonization of the Americas. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo announced that the spot would instead honor an indigenous figure.
Originally, artist Pedro Reyes was commissioned to create a sculpture of an indigenous Olmec woman. But there were soon protests against the choice of the artist, arguing that Reyes, who is neither indigenous nor a woman, shouldn’t be the one making the new landmark. This prompted the removal of Reyes from the project, while the city administration invited fresh proposals for the replacement. Now, the replica of the pre-Hispanic sculpture has been finalized as the new landmark.