A replica of an equestrian statue of José Martí located since 1950 on the Avenue of the Americas in Central Park, New York, arrived in the port of Havana to soon be placed in the historic center’s 13 de Marzo Park.
It will be placed “facing the sea, the port of Havana, and looking toward the nation he knew as few did,” said City Historian Eusebio Leal.
The piece, whose original was sculptured by U.S. artist Anna Hyatt Huntington, was transferred to Havana’s Sierra Maestra terminal from the Special Development Zone of the western port of Mariel, where it arrived a few days ago from the United States, Radio Rebelde reported.
The sculpture is the only one known that reflects the figure of National Hero José Martí at the moment of his death in the battle of Dos Ríos on May 19, 1895, as it was pointed out by City of Havana Historian Eusebio Leal, a great promoter of the initiative of bringing the reproduction to Cuba.
It is a bronze statue that is 5.6 meters high and weighs 3 tons. According to Leal, “our country gave the United States that sculpture as a gift, and a reproduction in these historic times means extending our hands to the people of the United States and from the people of the United States to favor an embrace of solidarity between peoples,” EFE reported.
The original work, the last large-size equestrian statue conceived by sculptress Anna Hyatt (1876-1973) at the age of 82, shares a small square in the southern area of Central Park with the monuments devoted to Latin American independence heroes Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín.
Anna Hyatt Huntington while she was sculpting the statue of José Martí. Photo: eusebioleal.cu.
After its long journey from the U.S. foundry in Philadelphia, where it was cast and the bronze was polished, the replica of the statue of Martí will be placed in the central rotunda of the large garden that extends from the northern terrace of the former Presidential Palace to the junction of Cárcel and Avenida de las Misiones streets, according to what Leal said in a press release published last year.
A team from the Cuban Restaura Company advised by the New York Bronx Museum – which has accompanied the entire process – is currently working in the elements of the monument, which will have a 5.03-meter-high pedestal covered in black granite that will recall the original, according to what the assistant director of the Office of the City Historian, Perla Rosales, explained.
On the base of the statue the inscription will say: “From the people of the United States to the people of Cuba, encompassing in the concept of U.S. people not just its citizens but also the Cuban patriots who established their residence there,” said the persons involved in the initiative.
Cuba and the United States resumed their diplomatic relations in December 2014 and reopened their embassies in 2015, under the Barack Obama administration, after more than half a century of enmity. But in recent months the new U.S. president, Donald Trump, an opponent of his predecessor’s policy toward the island, has announced measures that suppose a rollback in the policy of bilateral “thawing.”
This is how the pedestal was built in 13 de Marzo Park (photos from June 2017):
EFE / OnCuba