A Route Built By Women

Explore the works of these two women sculptors and the role they played in the longest sculptural corridor in the world

By Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Doors to the Wind completed (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

A Long Road Ahead

The Route of Friendship was one of the most important projects carried out during the 68 Olympic Games in Mexico. It’s considered to be the largest sculptural corridor in the world, stretching over 17 km and throughout it, 20 works of art created by artists from across the world, two of them were created by female sculptors, Ángela Gurría and Helen Escobedo. 

Ángela Gurría (20th Century) by Angela GurriaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Ángela Gurría 

Ángela Gurría was born in Mexico City. She started as a self-taught sculptor, later she studied with Germán Cueto and worked in the workshops of Abraham González and Mario Zamora. She has been working in different projects mixing sculpture to architecture, a discipline for which she won the first prize at the III Sculpture Biennial in Mexico. She has taught sculpture courses at the Universidad Iberoamericana y de las Américas. Her monumental works can be found in various places in Mexico.

Signals under construction (20th Century) by Ángela GurríaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

The sculpture was constructed with a steel structure that had been previously made, giving it its shape. Then a wire mesh covered the structure to prepare for the concrete plaster.

Signals under construction (20th Century) by Ángela GurríaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

The solid concrete base works as a counterweight to the high height of the piece.

Signals Completed (20th Century) by Ángela GurríaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

"Señales" or "Signs" is 18 meters high, with two “horns”, a black one and a white one representing the participation of the African countries during the Olympic games.

Signals Completed For The 68 Olympics (20th Century) by Ángela GurríaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

If you put together the pieces from the base, it creates a horseshoe shape, representing, “good luck.”

Signals (20th Century) by Ángela GurríaPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

The sculpture, in the original project was the opera that used to open or close the “Route of Friendship” corridor. It was located in the San Jerónimo roundabout, south of the city, very close to the MEXICO 68 Olympic Stadium in the University City. A highway was going to be built in the area, so it had to be moved from its original location in order to preserve it.

It was placed on the Periférico and Insurgentes Sur roundabout, together with other sculptors from different parts of the world. All of them had to be relocated due to the construction of a highway. The space where Señales is situated is environmentally important. The rocky mantles that emerged from the eruption of the Xitle volcano 1800 years ago were rescued and preserved. The sculptor is surrounded by native flora and fauna, which generates, at the same time, big rainwater collection points that compensate for the aquifers in the area. The area represents a place where nature and art merge.

Helen Escobedo (20th Century) by Manuel GarayPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Helen Escobedo

Helen Escobedo was born in Mexico City. She studied with Germán Cueto, John Skeaping, Frank Dobson, Leon Underwood, and André Willequet. She had a sculpture, textile, and set design studio. She was hailed as an innovator when she presented  a functional plastic sculptures exhibition at the Mexican Art Gallery. She also served as the technical director of MUNAL and as a Director at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) for two years. She was also a member of the National System of Artistic Creators, created by FONCA and in 2009, she received the Arts National Prize. 

She was a pioneer for the Mexican plastic arts movement and was one of the first artists who grew concerned with the environmental crisis and began to use natural and recycled materials in her work.

Doors to the Wind under construction (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

The piece was constructed using a pre-made steel structure and concrete cast, leaving an interior hollow to reduce the weight. The two lateral bodies are joined by a suspended central body.

Doors to the Wind under construction (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Doors to the Wind completed (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Puertas al Viento is a blue and green wall with a hole in the center that supports a central medallion with some reliefs that represents the alfalfa seeds. In 1968 the space that surrounded the sculpture was a cultivated field. This inspired her work.

Doors to the Wind (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Puertas la Viento resembles a door that opens and closes to the viewer that surrounds it. The center allowed the people to see the green countryside and a bright and the blue skies of Mexico City. The piece is 18 meters high.

Doors to the Wind completed (20th Century) by Helen EscobedoPatronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C

Station # 19 was located on a ridge that divides the central lane from the side lane at the end of the vehicular road called Periferico Sur . The city south exit ended with the sculpture “Puertas al Viento”.

In 2020, the sculpture was relocated between the avenues, Viaducto Tlalpan and Periferico Sur. It is surrounded by a natural flower field and the fauna is endemic to the area of Xochimilco. This relocation has created new spaces for insects to promote pollination in the area and encourage the return of birds to the central forest areas

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