Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Candelaria to restore the Guanche Menceyes

Stone sculpture of Mencey Bencomo in its
former location on the sea front of
the Plaza de la Patrona
The stone sculpture group was created in 1959 by Alfredo Reyes Darias for the inauguration of the Basilica.

The Council of Candelaria, through the department of Canarian Identity and Historical Heritage, has begun a project to restore the sculptural group of the Guanche Menceyes, which since the year 2000, have been located on the Rambla de Los MenceyesTesting of the mortar has already been carried out, as well as photographs taken of all the sculptures, in order to carry out a detailed examination of the interventions that need to be carried out, given the evident deterioration that the stone sculptures have been suffering for years.

Mayor of Candelaria, Mari Brito, and the councillor for Canarian Identity and Historical Heritage, Manuel González, highlight the importance of this project that aims to restore and preserve these sculptures that date from 1959 and that were originally located in the Plaza de la Patrona, when they were placed there the year that the current Basilica was inaugurated. 

The objective of the City Council with this intervention is to value this important cultural heritage of the municipality, which, due to the material with which it is made, the passage of time and marine and wind erosion, has been deteriorated. In addition to the restoration, it is intended to incorporate interpretive signage so that locals and visitors can learn about the history and which Guanche Mencey each of them is.

The sculptures date from 1959 and were created by Alfredo Reyes Darias, on the occasion of the construction of the first square and the inauguration of the basilica, which took place that year. They were located in the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias until 1993, when they were replaced by the current set of sculptures, with bronze Menceyes by the sculptor José Abad. The brutalism and ingenuity of these sculptures contrast with the heroic vision of the Menceyes that replaced them. Both sets are a reflection of the changes in mentalities in Canarian society regarding the construction of the imagined Guanche. They represent the nine Menceyes who ruled Tenerife at the time of the Castilian conquest in 1496. The island was divided into nine menceyatos or territories: Abona, Adeje, Anaga, Daute, Güímar, Icod, Tacoronte, Taoro and Tegueste, whose inhabitants were known as Guanches.