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Giant Shakira Statue Unveiled in Her Hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia

A 21-ft bronze statue of Latin pop star Shakira has been unveiled by the mayor of her hometown in Colombia, rounding off a turbulent year for the singer.

Shakira Statue
The new Shakira statue is unveiled in her hometown in Colombia. Credit: Euro News

A 21-ft bronze statue of the Latin pop star Shakira has been unveiled by the mayor of her hometown in Colombia. The commemoration rounds off what has been a turbulent year for the singer.

The sculpture was created by local artist Yino Márquez and students from the city’s art academy. Shakira thanked them for their work on her X account, citing the work as a display of the ‘enormous artistic talent’ of her people.

Unveiled on Tuesday this week, the statue is located on a new promenade along the Magdalena River. Shakira’s parents, brothers and Barranquilla’s mayor, Jaime Pumarejo, attended the ceremony. In an Instagram post commemorating the occasion, Shakira said:

I’m very excited about this tribute to Colombian woman and the Barranquilleras inside and outside my land! ??❤️

Shakira on Instragram

Shakira’s rise to fame

Although it might be the biggest, this isn’t the first statue of the singer to be erected in her hometown. A depiction of Shakira in the early days of her career stands at the entrance to the local soccer stadium.

This work shows Shakira wearing jeans and boots and strumming on an acoustic guitar. The new statue shows her performing the iconic dance move from the music video that helped her achieve global fame. According to local legend, she first performed the hip-shaking move at a local Lebanese restaurant when she was only four years old.

Shakira’s father, William Mebarak Chadid, is Lebanese, and she has come under fire before for not speaking about her Arab roots. Some comments on her recent post criticize her for not speaking out in support of Palestine over the last few months. Her songs have often included political messages, usually about the domestic situation in Colombia. She has not publicly condemned the Israel-Gaza war, despite canceling a performance in Israel in 2018 after pressure from the group BDS.

A year in the life: Shakira’s 2023

Since this break-out song, Shakira has been showered with international acclaim, winning three Grammys and countless other nominations. In this year alone, the so-called ‘Queen of Latin Pop’ took home three Latin Grammys, including Song of the Year and Best Pop Song.

However, it has not been smooth sailing for the singer this year. In El Jefe, a song released in January this year, she raps about her footballer ex-husband cheating on her. A cruel twist of fate meant she received her awards this year at the hands of her ex’s rival, Sergio Ramos.

Her year has also been marred by legal troubles. In November, she made a $7.5 million payment to the Spanish tax authorities to avoid a court case over tax evasion charges of over $14 million.

Although the settlement means she officially accepted the charges, she and her lawyers are prepared to defend her innocence. She cited personal reasons for the settlement, wanting to protect her children and her ’emotional’ state. She recently moved to Miami with her two children.

Written By

I'm in my final year at the University of Oxford, studying English. I'm interested in all kinds of writing, from theatre reviewing to covering current affairs, with a particular focus on Gen Z's engagement with politics and popular culture.

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