Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico
The proposal for a monument in the port of Veracruz to commemorate 100 years of Jewish immigration came about after an open competition was announced for Mexican and international architects, designers, visual artists, organized by the central committee of the Jewish community in Mexico. This symbolic project was made possible thanks to the support of the State of Veracruz’s port authority, which donated the physical site for the monument, and to the private donations provided by the Jewish community.
Jacobo Micha and ARCHETONIC won this competition and were awarded with the opportunity to build this monument.
The project is a load-bearing wall that supports 100 sculpted elements on one side, and 400 lines of stone suspended in the air on the other, to symbolize Veracruz as the port of entry to Mexico. Each one of these 100 pieces mark one of the years in which the Jewish community has been welcomed into Mexico, a country they now call home. These commemorative works, with their rough and sturdy finishes, refer to the arrival of the ships as well as their immigrant passengers who disembarked perhaps without much preparation but full of courage and willingness to start their new lives.
On the opposite side of the wall, the 100 pieces are multiplied to a total of 400, showing the birth of the new families; these 400 pieces are refined and polished, symbolizing Mexico as somewhere people can explore new opportunities and start their lives afresh, always within a community. This is also a block shaped by many members who have helped one another on their path toward a common purpose, and demonstrating their achievements.
These pieces were sculpted with particular forms and features, without repetitions. Although ostensibly similar, each piece has small, distinguishing details to convey the importance and uniqueness of each year in which the Jewish community has lived in Mexico.
The wall sculptures are made of slate, granite and marble, cut and sculpted in various parts of Mexico, such as Guerrero and Puebla, before being transported to their final destination: Veracruz. This process represents the immigration and immigrants, with the pieces inserted into the wall as if into an open door.
The plinth bears the names of the various participants and aims to give the sense that the wall is lightly suspended or floating in the air, at the same time as alluding to the opportunities given to the Jewish community to find success in Mexico. This base also includes a philosophical explanation from Aslan Cohen Mizrahi and a historical text by Alberto Rayek Balas.
To complete the project, a bench was designed for people not so much to sit down to observe the monument as to sit and contemplate the sea, in order to remember those who came to establish themselves. In honor of this cause, a plaque was laid with the names of all the donors who made this monument possible, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Jewish immigrants’ arrival in the port of Veracruz.
Jacobo Micha Mizrahi
Diseño: Thomas Meier, Alejandro Rabiela Salinas, Ernesto Rosell Zanotelli, Jaime Micha Balas
Ing. Montes de Oca
José Luis Moreno Quinto
Rafael Gamo, Aldo Moreno, Quitagrapas