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Mexico City to Replace Columbus Statue With an Indigenous Woman

Enlisting Pedro Reyes to sculpt the new monument.

Mexico City has removed a 150-year old statue of Christopher Columbus that stood at a busy roundabout on Paseo de la Reforma. In a news conference on Sunday, a day that marked International Indigenous Women’s Day, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that an Indigenous woman will aptly be replacing Columbus. “We owe it to them. We exist because of them,” said Sheinbaum. “It is the history of our country and our homeland,” she added.

Having been vandalized in the past, the Columbus sculpture was first removed last October under the pretense that it would undergo routine cleaning. Instead, the statue will permanently be moved to a plaza in the ritzy Polanco district. Whereas, the new Reforma monument will go up on October 12 — a day that marks Dia de la Raza (“Race Day”) — one that remembers Columbus’ troubled history, along with Mexico’s many cultural identities.

The news follows a trend that can be felt all across the world, especially within the United States. During the George Floyd protest, many Columbus statues were torn down in an attempt to demand a reassessment of history, particularly Columbus’ crimes, which amongst them, included his involvement in the Atlantic Slave Trade and American Indian Genocide.

The Indigenous Woman statue, titled Tlalli (the Nahuatl word for land), will depict a member of the Olmec people, who lived in present-day Mexico from 2,500 – 400 BCE. Tlalli will be created by famed Mexican artist, Pedro Reyes, whose sculptures and installations have featured at the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale.

Also in the news, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme have unveiled their first US Museum exhibition.

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