Wings of Mexico Sculpture Debuts on Commemorative Week ‘Arts For All’ Day

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Alas de México (Wings of Mexico) by Jorge Marín is located near the Tower of the Americas.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Alas de México (Wings of Mexico) by Jorge Marín is located near the Tower of the Americas.

Pouring rain held off just long enough for the group of visiting dignitaries to become the living parts of Jorge Marín’s new sculpture, Alas de México. Alas means “wings” in Spanish, and the sculptural pair of bronze wings are set at an ideal height for people to stand between and appear as if they might fly.

Stationed at the base of the Tower of the Americas, the truly interactive Marín sculpture was officially unveiled Friday morning at Hemisfair to start off Arts For All Day, day four of the six-day Tricentennial Commemorative Week. “A gift from the Citizens of Mexico City to the Citizens of San Antonio,” reads its title placard.

Encouraging people to “to take flight towards their limitless dreams,” as Marín stated in his dedicatory video message, the sculpture might refer equally to the hopes and dreams of either nation’s citizens, or to “Dreamers,” as recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are known.

A video of Jorge Marín describing his sculpture is played at the unveiling.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

A video of artist Jorge Marín describing his sculpture is played at the work’s unveiling.

“Borders are an absurd idea,” said Claudio Ruz, Mexico City’s director for protocol and diplomacy, after the dedication ceremony. “We are all one mankind, and we all live on one planet. Once you are in the air, once you are flying, borders are a thing of the past.”

Marín’s sculpture joins the 2002 La Antorcha de la Amistad (The Torch of Friendship), the vivid red-orange landmark that sits downtown between Commerce and Market streets, as gifts from Mexico. The new sculpture and the Torch of Reflection concrete-and-glass sculpture by San Antonio artist Gini Garcia are centerpieces of the citywide Commemorative Week celebration.

“As an artist, part of our job is to facilitate the coming together of a community,” Garcia said, and her thought was echoed by many speakers during the Friday morning dedication, which took place indoors at the Instituto Cultural de México.

Dignitaries from many nations have gathered in San Antonio for Commemorative Week, including representatives of sister cities in Namibia, Japan, Germany, and China. After the brief ceremony, the visitors took their place in front of the wings to have their pictures taken, as rain clouds loomed in the near distance. Finally, the rain clouds opened up and sent the group scattering.

Alas de México, however, will remain in its place near the base of the Tower of the Americas, at least for the time being.

The gift from the artist and the Governor of Mexico City is permanent, but the duration of its siting depends on ongoing Hemisfair development, said Andres Andujar, chief executive officer of the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC).

“It’s a permanent gift with a temporary installation,” Andujar said. “For now, it’s a great place. One of the ideas of a piece like the wings, is to engage with the entire community. And so it’s not out of the question that it could go to another location that you would love.”

However, “if it’s loved” by the public, said Jimmy LeFlore, public art manager for the San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, “it’s going to be hard to move it.”

Alas de México is publicly accessible, located up a ramp near the Hemisfair fountains, crossable via a footbridge. Its location is slightly out of the way of regular foot traffic through the park, but the bright bronze wings are visible from the main path.

The Tower of Americas is located next to Alas de México (Wings of Mexico) by Jorge Marín.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Alas de México (Wings of Mexico) by Jorge Marín is located near the base of the Tower of the Americas.

Though some outdoor Arts For All Day events were also threatened by rain, Tricentennial Commission spokeswoman Laura Mayes said that most would go on as planned. Dance in the Park, led by Quenedit Dance Theatre of San Antonio, was originally scheduled for 4-7 p.m. in Travis Park but was been moved to the Pearl, Mayes said.

However, the SATX Social Ride Gallery Bike Tour, scheduled from 3-6 p.m., was cancelled, Mayes said.

The 9:30 p.m. fireworks along the Mission Reach were to go on “rain or shine,” she said. Also rain or shine, Garcia’s Torch of Reflection in Main Plaza will be lighted each evening from 7-11 p.m.

3 thoughts on “Wings of Mexico Sculpture Debuts on Commemorative Week ‘Arts For All’ Day

  1. Question: This looks like the same sculpture that was set up for months at San Anntonio Botanical Garden for visitors to pose for photos. Is this a different color, or a replica of the artist’s other sculpture? It was indeed popular!

    Comment regarding Bexar County fireworks on despite storms: Local officials promised this to be the largest and loudest fireqorks display in local history. This is neither appropriate nor respectful to the descendants of human mission members nor the wildlife native to this area, and is nothing short of environmental terrorism to blast the San Antonio along the three sites where there are the largest populations of nesting migratory birds.
    Elderly military veterans in our neighborhood awake to fireworks and think they are in a war zone. Beleaguered south San Antonio residents already have loose dogs roaming their yards for days after any fireworks. Audobon cites thousands of birds dying of heart failure, and migratory birds abandoning their nests as known dangers of pyrotechnics.
    The fireworks industry is one of the most hazardous in the world for workers, and relies heavily on child labor. We all hear every year about the dangers of fireworks to children who are given them by adults (about 12,000 U.S. children maimed annually despite bans in cities such as San Antonio). Why are we requesting Bexar County fund the fight against human trafficking but then buying products from a high-fatality industry that enslaves children to produce them in Mexici, India, China? How about stopping support of child slavery in every country?
    This form of environmental racism and environmental degradation is inappropriate to transition to a new century for San Antonio.

  2. I agree with Rachel Cywinski about the damage caused by fireworks. I doubt most people are aware of it’s affect on both humans and animals. San Antonio with its many annual celebrations could use them as a platform to educate the public about these effects, and perhaps leading the nation in replacing fireworks with more thoughtful and less damaging ways of marking celebrations. When we know better, we do better. Or we continue forward like ostriches with our heads stuck in the sand.

  3. We found the wings last night! I hadn’t seen this article/photo yet which would have given me a clue to the location. I’d read two things, the wings would be at Hemisfair with view of the tower and also I read at Commerce and Alamo. After rolling around on our bikes for a bit, rechecking the internet, we saw the wings!

    Two months ago we were in Mexico City for the first time and happened upon Marin’s wings. When I heard San Antonio was getting a pair I was so excited! But I was out of town for the debut so I had to find them asap after work yesterday.

    I’m glad to hear the wings will possibly move to other locations. While I love this secretive above-the-fountains Hemisfair spot, the tower is so close that the only way to include the tower and the wings is to take a photo laying on the ground. Otherwise the back ground is the tower column, not so great!!! The wings would be very nice near the Instituto Cultural de Mexico with a great view of the tower in the background.

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