Cocodrillo by Leonora Carrington is one of the most popular public sculptures in Mexico City. Carrington donated the work to the city in 2000. The name is sometimes stated as How Doth the Little Crocodile (Spanish: Cómo hace el pequeño cocodrilo), lifting the title directly from the Lewis Carrol poem of the same name. Carrol’s verse is said to have inspired the giant bronze sculpture and a painting from the same year (1998). One might be forgiven for thinking that Carrington may have taken just a smidgeon of inspiration from Tomás Chávez Morado’s 1976 monument to Alonso García Bravo, too. This has not been documented, although the motif of the standing canal boat operator appears in other monuments in the City.
Weighing some five tons, and stretching 8.5 meters in length, the tallest crocodile stands at 4.5 meters. That gives ample room for those wishing to snap away, and indeed, it’s likely one of the most photographed public sculptures in the City.
Originally, the City placed the sculpture within an abandoned fountain in Section 2 of Chapultepec Park. But by 2006, the artist herself had selected a preferred location on the Paseo de la Reforma. The move was accompanied with great fanfare.
Carrington died in 2011, one of the most celebrated 20th-century artists from Mexico City. British-born, she was also a surrealist painter and novelist. Having spent most of her adult life in the City, she’s often recalled as one of the longest-lived participants of the surrealist movement of the 1930s. At this writing, the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) is working to open her home and studio as a cultural center and museum.