La Gran Espiga, (The Great Sprig) is a giant monumental sculpture on the Calzada de Tlalpan at the cloverleaf intersection with the Avenida Taxqueña. Most City residents have no idea why it’s there, and it’s often assumed to have been part of the Ruta de la Amistad. That series of giant sculptures came to dominate many landscapes across the south of Mexico City as part of preparations for the 1968 Olympics.
In fact, La Gran Espiga dates from a few years later in 1973. The work was completed by architect and sculptor Fernando González Gortázar who’s known chiefly for his professional work in Guadalajara and other parts of Jalisco. The work was commissioned by the delegation of Coyoacán as part of an urban beautification project.
By the time González Gortázar returned to Mexico City though, the sculpture had long been neglected. Damaged by years of traffic, vandalism, and weather, it was only in 2018 that the work was entirely restored. 50 years since the work was conceived, as a Great Sprig of Wheat, it’s understood as the artist’s “symbol of all that is good, of that which feeds us and helps us to live, of the nobility, and harmony of the people. A poetic image, used by countless writers from all times.”