• Surelis Yanes

Don Quijote - Hialeah behind the Art


Next up on my tour of South Florida city displays, is the City of Hialeah — also known as “Haiyakpo” which translates to “pretty prairie.” Named by the Seminole Indians, the city is located upon a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades. As the sixth-largest city in the state, Hialeah is a second home to Hispanics, with Cubans being the first to mass migrate to the city. Hialeah is also the second-highest city with Hispanic U.S. citizens and the number one in Spanish-speaking residents in the U.S. Just recently, it was also ranked number one for highest median home appreciation in the country.

Hialeah is known for its famous Jai Alai game, greyhound dog racing, and horse racing at the Hialeah Park Race Track, which is also home to the beautiful pink flamingos bird sanctuary. The city showcases a Don Quijote sculpture right off the Palmetto Expressway and 49th street (NW 103 Street). This Don Quijote sculpture is not your ordinary Don Quijote… It is a 24 feet tall, breathtaking art piece. The Mayor of Hialeah, Carlos Hernandez, has emphasized artworks inclusiveness starting in 2011. He chose the sculptor Ramon Pedraza, born in Havana, Cuba. Mayor Hernandez requested Pedraza to create a piece that would represent its citizens. Personally, I believe that the sculpture represents “Hispanic families who migrate wishing for a better tomorrow.” Pedraza knew precisely how it felt to migrate and was motivated by his past and created this piece for all to admire and enjoy.

Ramon Pedraza, by further-choosing specific artwork details, gave even more depth to his masterpiece. Pedraza displays a flamingo as the base in the representation of the City of Progress, Hialeah. Don Quijote is displayed naked to represent everyone's purity after stripped from all earthly possessions while migrating. He carries a machete depicting the Cuban Mambises in battle.

In my opinion, the sculpture represents the warrior in each and every one of us:

to fight relentless for prosperity.

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