Among the many iconic pieces of public art here in San Antonio, my favorite has to be La Antorcha de la Amistad (The Torch of Friendship). Standing 65 feet tall at the Losoya, Commerce, Market and Alamo roundabout above the San Antonio River Walk, this beautiful two-ton orange steel sculpture by Mexico City artist Sebastián represents two cultures, two languages and two roads merging into one.
The Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos – a Texas non-profit composed of Mexican-American entrepreneurs – commissioned the art, and presented it as a gift from the Mexican government to San Antonio in 2002. It was unveiled on June 27, 2002, by the artist, then-Mayor Edward D. Garza and then-Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Mexico and political analyst Jorge Castañeda Gutman.
The sculpture features two posts that rise at non-parallel angles. The posts appear to rise in straight lines until they individually curl and twist before meeting at the highest point. From each angle surrounding the sculpture, the shape at the top appears to look totally different. It’s lit constantly, with varying colors and light patterns at different periods of the year.
As with all iconic art, La Antorcha de la Amistad attracted a fair amount of controversy – some say it looks like Gumby delivering a pizza while others refer to it as a giant lollipop. But to most of us, it fits right in with all things wonderful about San Antonio.
In honor of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, I’m ranking La Antorcha de la Amistad No. 45 in my 300 Reasons to Love San Antonio list. Another great reason to live, work and buy a home in San Antonio.