Jimmy the Art Critic!

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One of the joys of living in the Centro Historico of Quito is the easy accessibility to open-air concerts, museums, exhibitions and street entertainment.

The city has an enviable sense of civic pride and enormous efforts are being made to beautify and enhance the centre, and make it a safe place to be (though drivers complain bitterly about the potholed roads and argue that money is wasted on adornments rather than infrastructure). I’ve mentioned Avenida 24 de Mayo before; this wide, sweeping boulevard was recently restored at a cost of US$5 million and now has a considerable police presence. Prior to that it had been notorious for prostitution and crime.

The boulevard presently features an exhibition of 14 sculptures dating from the 1990s entitled “Volverte a Ver 2”. All of the exhibits, made variously from wood, bronze, iron and recycled materials, had been abandoned or neglected and brought together from other parts of the city after cleaning and restoration.

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In the 1980s modern abstract sculpture started to flourish in Quito as a result of a new urban art policy, and financed by the oil boom. Until then the public spaces, parks and plazas of the city had been filled with innumerable busts, statues and obelisks commemorating political and military figures.

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The sculptures for the most part represent national symbols: the hummingbird, a butterfly and a bull are all present and recognizable. Some react to the scupltures with besumement while kids tend to treat them as giant play things. And I’m ashamed to say Jimmy the dog cocked his leg against one of them. A criticism perhaps?!

To the far right of the photo a statue of Mariscal Sucre, Quito's first public monument, erected in 1892.

To the far right of the photo a statue of Mariscal Sucre, Quito’s first public monument, erected in 1892.