“The King,”a replica of Olmec Colossal Head No. 1,from Omaha’s sister city Xalapa, Mexico will be installed in the Lied Jungle at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Thursday, Feb.22 at 11 a.m.Media escorts will be available at Guest Services.The statue will be formally dedicatedin May.
“The King” is a 20,000-pound gift to the city of Omaha which will reside at the Zoo in the South American section of the Lied Jungle. According to Americo Zuniga Martinez, former mayor of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, the statue is a symbol of the immense gratitude, appreciation and affection the city of Xalapa has for Omaha.
The statue was sculpted by Ignacio Perez Solano under the authority of the National Institute of Anthropology and History inXalapa. With more than 25,000 pieces, the museumhouses theworld’slargest collection of artifacts from Mexican Gulf Coast cultures such as the Olmec, Huastec andTotonac.
“We feel veryhonored to be chosen as the location for “The King” Olmec Head replica to be on display for our city,” said Dennis Pate,president and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “We are happy to give the community an opportunity to see this gift from Xalapa and learn more about Omaha Sister Cities while visiting the Zoo.”
OSCA Board President Rob Hodson echoed Pate’s sentiment. “This gift will further strengthen the ties between Xalapaand Omaha, and it’s a great tribute to the people of both cities that this gift could be brought to Omaha.”
The Omaha Sister Cities Association (OSCA) is dedicated to enhancing our community’s global awareness through cultural, educational, humanitarian and economic development connections. OSCA brings like-minded people from around the world to Omaha to develop cross-cultural relationships with Omaha’s citizens through youth exchanges, family homestay and cultural events. OSCA currently has six sister cities: Shizuoka, Japan; Braunschweig, Germany; Siauliai, Lithuania; Naas, Ireland; Xalapa, Mexico; and Yantai, China. Xalapa became Omaha’s fifth sister city in 2005.
Union Pacific, a long-time partner of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, assisted with the installation by arranging for Barnhart Crane & Rigging to load and install the Olmec.
Olmec replicas can be found in eight other locations within the United States including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.; the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois; and the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, Texas.