I saw on Facebook that left-wing members of the Barcelona
City Council were calling for the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue at
the bottom of the Ramblas. I had no objections, but was more concerned with
getting rid of the memorial to José Antonio Primo de Rivera and the Falange in Plaza Bib Taubin. I blogged about it twice back in 2010 and
2011: in the first one (blog.granadalabella.eu/#post3) I mentioned how the sculpture offended both my political and artistic sensibilities; the second one (blog.granadalabella.eu/#post20)
was about a laudable initiative of leftist artists and intellectuals to replace
it with a statue in honour of the then recently deceased flamenco singer
Enrique Morente.

To my surprise I got a reply from
Facebook friend Mike, saying “We are rid of it, last time I looked it
had been changed into a statue extolling the virtues of childhood or something
akin”. Of course I had to go and see for myself, and sure enough, there it was
– gone! And in its place, a statue of a sweet girl-child kneeling on a plinth
surely too big and heavy for such a slight and light figure.

It turns out that as a sort of
compromise solution – the Right wanted to keep the original statue, the Left,
as indicated, wanted it replaced – a new less offensive work by the same sculptor,
Francisco
López Burgos, was found to put in the place of the fascist eyesore.

It is well known that López Burgos was a favourite with the Franco regime,
maybe because of his predilection for sculpting virgins, religious ones let me
hasten to add, and in fact he won the National Sculpture Prize in 1954. His, by
the way, is the Virgen de las Nieves, at Los Tajos, just below the peak of La
Veleta.* Maybe not many people know that.

His replacement work, titled – not quite sure why – ‘La Soledad’, was put
in place on 3 August 2014. On 19 November same year, International Children’s Day
was celebrated here. The sculptor’s daughter hoped the work would be a symbol
of peace and integration. But the following day, 20 November, date on which both
Franco and José Antonio died, one in his bed and the other in prison, members
of the Falange placed a laurel wreath at the foot of López Burgos’s little
girl, ‘La Soledad’, just as they had been doing for four decades at the foot of
her predecesor.

So. Things do change in Granada, even if a number of people don’t
want them to.

*I thank David R Jiménez-Muriel for this interestingdetail which I
discovered in his blog ‘La alcena de las ideas’. http://laalacenadelasideas.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/el-monumento-primo-de-rivera.html
Other stuff I got from Ángeles Huertas http://www.eldiario.es/andalucia/Ayuntamiento-Granada-eliminara-fascista-colocacion_0_284872164.html
and a Facebook post by María Antonia López-Burgos del Barrio, daughter of the
sculptor in question.