‘Give me enough rebar and an oxyacetylene torch and I’ll line the border with giant nude Amazons.’ – Armando Muñoz Garcia
In 1987 a scruffy part-time art student approached Tijuana city officials with a simple plan: He wanted to build a humongous naked woman in the middle of the city to mark the 1989 Tijuana centennial. Unsurprisingly, they declined the offer.
The refusal did little to dissuade artist Armando Garcia. Armando simply relocated the work to his neighborhood, an overlooked ghetto of Tijuana, and began building. Though discouraged by his professors and with little support from his classmates, the art student kept building and in 1991 he had completed his vision. Standing more than five stories tall, rising from hovels and a trash dump, stands 18 tons of fully nude woman, her arm upraised with a pinky pointing to the sky. A sly gesture noting location of Tijuana on a map of Mexico.
The huge woman, officially named “Tijuana III Millennium” by Garcia but known locally as “La Mona” or “the doll,” is a perky nude, based on one of Garcia’s ex-girlfriends. In recent years as the sculpture has begun to age and Garcia’s ex-girlfriend has started coming around demanding a make-over.
For Garcia the giant nude is more than just his claim to fame. It was, for a long time, his home. Garcia lived inside the woman with his wife. Their bedroom is in the woman’s breasts, the study is in her head, the kitchen in her stomach, and the bathrooms are anatomically appropriately located in her behind.
Garcia has since moved to a new house, this one also in the shape of a giant woman but only from the waist up. He currently still uses La Mona as a work space.
Garcia’s Mermaid House in Puerto Nuevo: