In the second section of Bosque de Chapultepec, you’ll come across a peculiar monument in honor of the origin of life, water. This is the final work of art of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, a gift to the people of Mexico, a singular combination of artistic disciplines, engineering and science, which turned out to be the only underwater mural of the country, and probably of the world.
“Water, origin of life” was conceived to be a part of the Sump of Dolores, the hydraulic structure that conducts the water current of the Lerma River from the Toluca valley to Mexico City, providing over 30% of the water supply used in the city.
Diego took on this project in 1951 and he even dared to refer to it as “the most fascinating commission of his career”, given that the work required him to combine several disciplines such as sculpture and science.
The idea that Rivera had in mind was to create a piece that would stay in permanent contact with water, for such task he used materials such as polystyrene and volcanic rock to ensure his legacy would resist the passage of time, even without preservation processes. His investigation led him to import materials and techniques from other countries such as United States.
Diego Rivera’s work has always been characterized of showcasing the pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico and “Water, source of life” is no exception. The mural portrays within the Sump the importance of the vital liquid for human life; and likewise, honors workers and engineers who participated in the construction.
On the exterior portion, the main figure is Tláloc, the Aztec god of water, an embossed figure covered with stones in colors representative of the pre-Hispanic times, such as red; it also contains representative elements of Mexican culture.
This innovative sculpture is standing at the Lambdoma Chamber, an interesting building that creates nature-like sounds when the water runs through the hydraulic system. Thanks to this last work of art that Diego Rivera managed to join three of the fine arts: painting, sculpture and music.