The Warsaw Voice » Other » Monthly - July 3, 2003
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Exploring South America
One thing Poland and Warsaw will bring with them to the European Union is a tie with geographically remote countries.

In Latin America, there are 130 monuments connected with Poland. Most of them can be found in Brazil (61) and Argentina (36). Peru has 10 such monuments, Chile seven, Uruguay seven, Mexico five, Nicaragua two and Guatemala and Colombia have one each.

The best-known monument is the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) in Rio de Janeiro. This 37-meter-high sculpture was sculpted by Paweł Maksymilian Landowski. Having graduated with a fine arts degree in Paris, Landowski became the official sculptor of the Third French Republic. He was the creator of the tomb monument of Ferdinand Foch, Marshall of Poland and France, created in 1937 for Hôtel des Invalides in Paris. Landowski’s monument—weighing 1,145 tonnes and unveiled in Rio de Janeiro in 1931—has become a symbol of Brazil.

The oldest monument of a Pole in Latin America is the Nicaraguan monument of Józef Leonard. After 1863, Leonard traveled through Sorbonne and Spain to Nicaragua and Honduras, where he worked as a law professor and a presidential adviser. In 1909, the Nicaraguan government commissioned the creation of a monument of Leonard.
As many as 12 monuments of Pope John Paul II can be found in Latin America. Montevideo has a statue and a bell, there are statues in Curitiba and Guarani Misiones, an obelisk of John Paul II can be found in Florianopolis, and a plaque devoted to him exists in Rio de Janeiro. In 2002, a 15-meter-high statue of the pope designed by Pedro Cajero was unveiled in Aguascalientes in Mexico. The pope’s pilgrimage to Guatemala in 2002 is commemorated by a monument standing in Asunción.

Three monuments of the pope in Argentina have been designed by Poles. Stanisław Słonina, professor of the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw, is the creator of the monument situated in Buenos Aires. Visitors to Comodoro Rivadavia are welcomed by a statue of John Paul II, depicted in a gesture of warm greeting. The statue was made of sheet metal in 1983 by Jan Łukiewicz, a mechanic and immigrant from Poland. Łukiewicz created the monument as a sign of his admiration for the pope. A 3.5-meter-high stone monument of John Paul II was unveiled in 1999 at the St. Mary the Queen of Poland’s church in Martin Coronado. The authors of the monument are Piotr Chodorowicz and Michał Batkiewicz from Cracow.

Four monuments of Nicholas Copernicus can be found in Brazil, two in Mexico, one in Argentina and one in Colombia. The sandstone monument of Columbus in Bogota was designed in 1974 by Tadeusz Łodziany, a professor at the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw.

Frédéric Chopin and Marshall Józef Piłsudski have six monuments each in Latin America. Five monuments have been created to honor both the Polish emblem, the White Eagle, and Ignacy Domeyko.

The oldest monument of Chopin, created in 1943 and unveiled in 1944 in Rio de Janeiro, was designed by August Zamoyski. In 1944, a Chopin monument was unveiled in Buenos Aires, and in 1963, another monument of Chopin was created by Fernando Corona for Porto Alegre. Another bust of Chopin has been unveiled in the capital city of Chile.

Monuments of Piłsudski can be found in Buenos Aires (two), Porto Alegre, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro. Images of the White Eagle have been created in several Brazilian cities—Arucaria, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Altaparaguas.

Domeyko, a person of great merit for Chile, has plaques devoted to him at the Domeyko’s Museum and at buildings at the university in Santiago. The creator of Domeyko’s monument at the university and a plaque in the Polish Park in Aritipa is Teresa Brzóstkiewicz-Stefanowicz, a sculptor from Warsaw.

A monument of Edward Habich, professor of the Warsaw University of Technology and founder of the first mining college in Peru, can be found in Lima. The city also possesses a square named after Habich and a museum devoted to him.

Aleksander Brodowski, professor of the Technical University in São Paulo and director of the railroad, has been commemorated by having the Brodosqui railroad station and a town built around it named after him.

Polish citizens living in Latin America have created monuments of the Black Madonna situated in Obera and Posada in Argentina, and in Curitiba and Sao Paulo in Brazil. Monuments of pianist Ignacy Paderewski are found in Curitiba and Mexico. The three-meter-high statue of Paderewski in Mexico, designed in 1944 by Miguel Baguadino Camps and financed by Jan Skoryna, waited to be unveiled in a residential quarter of Mexico until Nov. 11, 2001.

A monument of Czesław Bieżanko has been unveiled in Guarani Misiones in Brazil to commemorate his contribution to the recognition of a species of butterflies, which was then named after him. A monument of and a street named after Bronisław Rymkiewicz, constructor of a Brazilian port for the transportation of caoutchouc, can be found in Manaus.

In Buenos Aires, a plaque with the name of pilot Stanisław Skarżyński was unveiled in the seat of the Polish Association in 1973, on the 40th anniversary of his flight across the Atlantic and the first flight from Warsaw to Buenos Aires.

Sowers in Curitiba and monuments honoring Polish peasants cultivating Brazilian land situated in Florianopolis, Sao Paulo and Itajai are the works of Jan Żak and Jao Zaco Parana. A unique monument depicting the Polish-Ukrainian friendship can be found in Obera in Argentina.

Images of two Noble Prize laureates connected with Warsaw, Maria Skłodowska-Curie and Henryk Sienkiewicz, have been placed on the building of the library in Curitiba.

The Latin American monuments devoted to Poland will be presented in an album inspired by Juliusz Osuchowski’s photographs and edited by Lech Majewski. It is to be published on the initiative of the Consular Department of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.