Newly mended, old boots return to South Gables perch
More than two years after being wrecked by a car, the old boots are resting again on their perch in a South Gables traffic circle.
Titled Las Botas Viejas, the sculpture of a well-worn pair of boots recently underwent a six-month restoration and has been carefully reinstalled at Cartagena Plaza (also known as Cocoplum Circle), where LeJeune Road, Sunset Drive, Old Cutler Road and Cocoplum Road intersect.
The $54,840 cost was covered by insurance proceeds from driver who hit the sculpture, according to Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon, Coral Gables public affairs manager.
Donated to the city in 1979 by Cartagena, Colombia — Coral Gables’ first Sister City — the 95-inch-long, 53-inch-wide sculpture was struck on Jan. 29, 2010, by an automobile that lost control while heading eastbound on Sunset Drive.
The $54,840 restoration was paid by insurance proceeds from driver who hit the sculpture, according to Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon, Coral Gables public affairs manager.
Las Botas Viejas (The Old Boots) is a replica of a sculpture displayed in Cartagena at the San Felipe Fortress, overlooking the city and harbor.
The inspiration for the work lies in a poem written in the early 1900s by Luis Carlos López, titled A Mi Ciudad Natal (To My Native City). In the poem, López compares his affection for Cartagena to the attachment one has for a favorite pair of old, well-worn shoes.
Inspired by the poem, Colombian sculptor Tito Lambrano brought the old boots into fanciful reality several decades later through his artwork.
The 2010 accident was the second time the old boots had gotten kicked around. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew knocked a tree onto the sculpture. Cartagena donated another replica several years later.
The restoration earlier this year was performed by Rosa Lowinger & Associates – Conservation of Art + Architecture. Transport was handled by Museo Vault, a fine-art storage and related services company.