|Columbus Statue May Get Puerto Rican Home|
|Saturday, 20 August 2011|
A giant statue of Christopher Columbus may finally get a permanent place to stay on an uninhabited Puerto Rican island, after a 20-year search to find a home for the work of art.
The 600-ton bronze statue, twice the size of the Statue of Liberty without its pedestal, was created in 1991 by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ 1492 arrival in the Western Hemisphere, reports The Washington Post.
Many of works of art created by the President of the Russian Academy of Arts are often blamed and mocked for being incongruously pompous and out of proportion, and Tsereteli’s statue of the Spanish explorer is no different. Critics say Columbus’ arms are too long, his head too small and his pose, at the wheel of a tiny ship with three billowing sails behind him, is just plain silly.
Since its creation, the statue has had a bureaucratic shuffling from New York, Miami, Baltimore, and other major American cities, who have rejected showcasing the monument for one reason or another.
Eventually it was decided that “Birth of a New World,” the name of statue, would be erected in Catano, a seaside suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico. But that plan was shuttered after residents protestedthe move because it would knock down several dozen homes, and conflict with airplane flight paths.
The statue has been housed in Mayaguez ever since.
Now, local congressman David Bonilla has filed a resolution asking the Puerto Rican government to look into putting the statue up on the tiny, uninhabited island of Desecheo, arguing it would be a great tourist attraction. The island is closed to the public, but its waters attract divers. The Puerto Rican Congress has to approve the proposal.