A pair of sculptures of Alejandro Casarín depicts two tlatoani, rulers of the Aztec/Mexican empire. They are Ahuizotl and Itzcóatl, and they were intended to represent Mexico at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris. However, due to their weight, the statues were never shipped to France. Instead, the bronzes remained in Mexico and, like the Statue of Liberty, slowly acquired a now defining green patina.
Since the term indians (Indians) was still commonly used to refer to indigenous peoples, the carvings came to be known as Los Indios Verdes (“The Green Indians”). Before going green, they were also nicknamed Los Indios Nómadas (“The Nomadic Indians”) because, after their travel plans were canceled, they were relocated several times across the city.
Their late 19th century home was Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico’s Champs-Élysées. Inaugurated during the period of French influence known as Porfiriato, this wide avenue was the showcase of Mexico’s main monuments, and the racist and Eurocentric attitudes of the time meant that these sculptures were often decried as “Aztec mummies”. and “ridiculous figures”.
The following century, 1902 saw the statues moved to another important avenue (albeit with a less desirable postcode), the Calzada de la Viga. Their migration north continued into 1920, when they were moved to the highway leading to Pachuca. It would be one of their longest abodes, and now too far from their current home. Between 1969 and 1970, three of Mexico City’s metro lines were under construction or beginning operations.
It would be a full decade before Line 3’s northernmost terminus opened. When Indios Verdes station opened in 1979, the sculptures were moved closer to the station that bears their name. The park where they are currently located is known as Parque del Mestizaje. The idea of ”race mixing” is commonly known negatively in English as mestizaje, but in Latin America, where mestizos often make up the majority of the population, the word “mestizaje” is often used to paint it under a more positive day. .
Mestizaje Park celebrates this, re-contextualizing the sculptures that were once called Aztec mummies. With Ahuizotl having been one of the Empire’s greatest military strategists, and Itzcóatl one of the greatest diplomats (as the famous Triple Alliance was born under his rule), it would make sense for them to be the representatives of the indigenous half, in the concept that represents the Mestizaje park.