Civic Art | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Civic Art

Paseo del Parque is a broad, cobblestone street that leads from Parque Benito Juarez, our largest park, to the Ancha de San Antonio, the main road out of town to the south. A rare strip of grass and a few trees separate the wide sidewalk from the street itself, making arguably the most pleasant walking street in San Miguel de Allende.

As part of the ongoing effort to beautify our community, a series of carved wooden statues have been mounted on concrete plinths at intervals along the grassy strip. One such statue, titled "Sentidos Internos," (Inner Feelings) is pictured below.

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"Sentidos Internos" (Inner Feelings)

I'm no student of art, so my opinion that these statues don't look like much doesn't carry any weight. In the art world, I'm probably a philistine.

I am concerned that the statues will wind up as graffiti magnets. The Plexiglas plaques identifying each work look unsubstantial; my guess is they'll last a year at best. And spotlights buried in the grass, intended to cast dramatic light on the statues at night, have already succumbed to vandalism. The lenses and bulbs have all been smashed with loose cobblestones (you can see a broken one to the right of the plinth). The fixtures fill with water from the summer thunderstorms, short-circuiting the wiring that runs along the half-mile of lamps, ensuring that nothing will be powered from that line.

It's a nice try, but in my opinion, an esthetic and durability failure.

However, none of this was what attracted my eye. Look more closely. Tell me. Exactly what is going on in the carved image?

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Sculpture Detail.

I know. We're supposed to be seeing those speech balloons that appear in Mayan images and paintings. But I have to ask: Is that what it looks like to you?

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