The Winged Victory of the Independence Monument is the only feminine figure in Mexico City whose body can be uncovered and safe at the same time. Also known as The Angel of Independence, it’s the only female to have a bare waist, an unveiled neck, and still enjoy the most solemn of respects.

Inaugurated in 1910, this tribute to revolution commemorates the beginning of the Mexican Independence war’s centenary, and honors the heroes who gave their lives for emancipation. A column with rings, laurels, eagles, lions, patriotic heroes and Greek Goddesses support the angel’s body. An army of force, war and peace, protects it. The ballot boxes with bombastic names rest inside of her. She is part of a set of sculptures that represent the virility, pride and beauty of the city.

The forced monument

In 2019, after a historic rise of gender-based violence cases in Mexico, one of the largest feminist demonstrations of all time took place in its capital city. A tide of women marched in sorority, leaving slogans in the neighbours’ ears, on the walls, in churches. And finally and forcefully, at the feet of the Angel, in the name of the women that have been physically, verbally and emotionally harassed. After that, the Independence Monument was no longer made of marble and stone. It became purple, pink, yellow, green, white. It stopped being a neoclassical work to become visual street art, with new names and fights in it.

The monument after the demonstration. Photo by: Norma García

The reminiscences

This intervention didn’t last much. Promptly, the State decided to put scaffolding and retaining walls to avoid more painting, and informed about the restoration of the monument to its original state.

Apart from protecting the Angel, they also turned it into a new form of art, one lacking aesthetic balance and rich in censorship. Immediately afterwards, the government and the Mexicans regretted that the Angel’s restoration would cost more than 50,000 dollars. They promised that it would be just like before: strong and pristine. That the angel’s cold and venerated body would once again shine as the most important female of the country.

The monument in August 2020. Photo by Valeria Provenzano