Grammy-winning Colombian singer Shakira, one of the world’s top-selling musicians, has been immortalized in her famous belly-dancing pose in a giant bronze statue in her home city of Barranquilla. The city’s Mayor Jaime Pumarejo unveiled the 6.5 meter (21 foot) sculpture in a park along the banks of the Magdalena River on Tuesday in the company of the singer’s parents.
The monument was sculpted by local artist Yino Marquez and students from the district art school, underscoring its community-driven nature. The statue’s plaque carries a poignant message: “A heart that composes, hips that do not lie, an unmatched talent, a voice that moves masses and feet that march for the good of children and humanity.” This refers to the singer’s charity work through her foundation, Pies Descalzos — which translates to Bare Feet.
Known for hits such as Waka Waka and Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira is considered one of her generation’s most influential Latin American music artists. She is also a global humanitarian, supporting numerous projects in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere. She is an advocate for female empowerment and gender equality, as well as HIV/AIDS awareness.
Shakira, a three-time Latin Grammy winner this year, made headlines in January with a fiery rap song about ex-partner footballer Gerard Pique that broke YouTube records. The 46-year-old mother of two negotiated the settlement of a tax dispute with Spain’s government last month, paying 7.3 million euros ($AU 11.8 million).
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In her speech at the unveiling, Pumarejo said the city is proud to showcase the statue of the internationally renowned musician. He added that he hopes it inspires other residents to follow their dreams and never give up.
The sculpture was a gift from the Colombian singer’s father and mother, who attended the ceremony. Both of the performers’ parents have been dealing with health issues in recent years. William Mebarak Chadid, 92, underwent a delicate surgery earlier this year, and Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado, 73, recently recovered from thrombosis in her leg.
This isn’t the first time a statue of the Colombian star has been unveiled in her hometown. In 2006, the town of Barranquilla erected another, depicting the pop star in her early days playing an acoustic guitar and dressed in jeans and boots. In a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Shakira thanked sculptor Marquez and the students who helped with the latest statue, saying it was proof of the town’s enormous artistic talent.
Located on the northern coast of Colombia, the port city is a cultural center and is home to many of the country’s most influential theater companies. Its streets are lined with traditional eateries serving arepas and patacones – salty corn-cakes – and hearty soups such as sancocho. It is also a top coffee producer with an international cuisine. The city is a top destination for tourists and business travelers.