Monumento a la Raza (Medellín)

The Monumento a la Raza, also known as Monumento a la Raza Antioqueña,[1][2] is an outdoor sculpture and monument in the city of Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia. It was designed by Colombian sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt (1919–1995) and it is made of concrete and bronze. It was placed in the main plaza of the La Alpujarra Administrative Center and it was inaugurated on 31 May 1988. The monument features a curved concrete structure with multiple bronze sculptures symbolizing the culture of Antioquia. An urn containing some of Arenas' remains was placed beside the sculpture in 2016.

Monumento a la Raza
Picture of the monument, a crescent-like stone artwork covered with several bronze statues.
The monument in 2008
Coordinates06°14′40″N 75°34′24″W / 6.24444°N 75.57333°W / 6.24444; -75.57333Coordinates: 06°14′40″N 75°34′24″W / 6.24444°N 75.57333°W / 6.24444; -75.57333
LocationMedellín, Colombia
DesignerRodrigo Arenas Betancourt
MaterialConcrete and bronze
Height38 meters (125 ft)
Weight900 metric tons (890 long tons; 990 short tons)
Opening date31 May 1988
Dedicated toLa Raza Antioqueña

History and constructionEdit

On 4 September 1975, the Government of Medellín approved the construction of a monument that symbolized La Raza.[3] For the monument, Colombian sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt wanted to represent the culture and people of Antioquia.[1] The base of the monument was built with concrete and plaster.[1]

It was inaugurated on 31 May 1988,[4] being blessed by cardinal bishop Alfonso López Trujillo.[5] During the inauguration, Arenas said:

"We have to inaugurate this monument to Antioquia in unfortunate moments of immense, intense and extensive pain; moments in which the motherland is being dismembered, is being inexorably mutilated, submerged in destruction and cannibalism."[A]

During the 203-year anniversary commemoration of the Independence of Antioquia in August 2016, Arenas was honored and part of his remains were transferred to an urn next to the monument.[4]


Detail of the lower part of the monument in 2018. The ambient damage is visible in some sculptures.

The monument is exposed to multiple contaminants,[6] including pollution, moss, and pigeons and their feces. The damage is visible to the naked eye. In August 2016, then-governor of Antioquia Luis Pérez Gutiérrez [es] announced a restoration, but as of April 2018 it had not been conducted.[4]

Description and interpretationEdit

The Monumento a la Raza rises to 38 meters (125 ft) in height,[4] and weights 900 metric tons (890 long tons; 990 short tons).[1] The Museo Universitario de Artes Digitales described the monument as a brown curved sculpture that points to the sky. According to the museum, the monument symbolizes the culture of Antioquia, including its agriculture, religion, and solidarity.[6] The museum interpreted the work as a method to expose Arenas' early life in the Antioquia's farmlands.[6] Andrés Carvajal López from the EAFIT University said it portraits the story of the people that came out of the mud attempting to reach the top, starting from the bottom and trying to reach divinity in the zenith.[1] María Elena Quintero, poet and widow of Arenas, said:

"He interpreted and made a concrete-and-bronze epic, where he told the history of Antioquia, like the jobs, the mythology, among others. This work is a horseshoe that is on a pedestal and inside the development, colonization and Paisa history broadens".[B]


Sarah Woods described the Monumento a la Raza as a "powerful [and] robust" work that depicts "the forces of good and evil".[7]


  • A ^ Original text in Spanish: "Nos toca inaugurar este monumento a Antioquia en momentos aciagos de inmenso, intenso y extenso dolor; momentos en que la patria se va desmembrando, se va mutilando inexorablemente, sumergida en la destrucción y el canibalismo".[4][5]
  • B ^ Original text in Spanish: "[...] Él interpretó e hizo una epopeya de concreto y bronce, donde contó la historia de Antioquia, como los oficios, la mitología, entre otros. Esta obra es una herradura que está en un pedestal y dentro de esa forma se desarrolla el desarrollo, colonización e historia paisa".[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Carvajal López, Andrés. "Elogio a la antioqueñidad" [Praise to the Antioquenity]. Nexos (in Spanish). EAFIT University. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Antioquia celebra 203 años de Independencia con un homenaje al escultor Rodrigo Arenas" [Antioquia celebrates 203 years of Independence with a tribute to the sculptor Rodrigo Arenas] (in Spanish). RCN Radio. 11 August 2016. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  3. ^ Restrepo Uribe, Jorge; Posada de Greiff, Luz (1981). Medellín, su origen, progreso y desarrollo (in Spanish). Medellín: Serigráficas. p. 615. OCLC 656868399.
  4. ^ a b c d e Nieto Álvarez, Javier (15 April 2018). "Monumento a La Raza espera con ansias un día de limpieza" [Monumento a La Raza waits anxiously a cleaning day]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). Medellín. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b El Colombiano. "Un día como hoy. El Colombiano, Mayo 31" [On this day. El Colombiano, May 31] (in Spanish). Casillero de Letras. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Monumento A La Raza" (in Spanish). Museo Universitario de Artes Digitales. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  7. ^ Woods, Sarah; McColl, Richard (2015). Colombia. Guilford, Connecticut: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 340. ISBN 978-1-84162-921-6.

External linksEdit