Tag Archive | "buenos aires"

The International Human Rights Film Festival Returns to Buenos Aires

Last night, the 16th Human Rights Film Festival (FICDH) opened in Buenos Aires. Films and activities will take place at more than ten venues across the city until 24th June. In addition to a list of over a hundred films in sections such as Gender Views, Childhood and Youth, Migrants, Panorama, Environment, and Native Cultures, the festival agenda also includes round tables, photo exhibits, performances, workshops—and even a chance to get tattooed!

From the film 'El Regreso'

From the film ‘El Regreso’

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘EnREDando, identidades en contacto’, which emphasises the importance of networking, media, and the connections among people in spite of geographical and cultural distances. In highlighting the importance of these connections, the festival will be hosting Human Rights Tattoo, a Dutch project that invites the public to get a tattoo for human rights. Nearly 7,000 people across the world have already gotten their tattoo, which consists of a single letter from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tattoo artists Mandinga Tattoo, Guillermo Caldentey, Bruking, Daniel Demilio, Black Queen, Popiz Urrere Pon, and Agostina Perrone will be taking their turns today and tomorrow at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas from 5-10pm, and on Sunday at the Fundación Mercedes Sosa from 2-8pm. Definitely a whole new way of experiencing a festival!

But let’s get to the films themselves. This year, a new theme section has been added: Sports and Human Rights. The movie at the top of the list is ‘Boxing for Freedom’ (Juan Antonio Moreno and Silvia Venegas), about Sadaf Rahimi, a female boxer from Afghanistan, and her struggle to have a career in boxing in a country where women’s opportunities are so narrow. Naturally, it would be difficult to have a a festival section on sports without a film on football, and so ‘En el nombre de la Copa’ (Diego Marín Verdugo) will be screened, a film that recounts the underside of Brazil that did not appear on television screens during the World Cup matches. In ‘Giovanni and the Water Baller’ (Astrid Bussink), a young boy fights against another kind of discrimination when he decides to join a synchronised swimming team. In addition to the films, there is a rugby clinic scheduled for Saturday at 2pm at the Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti at the Centro de Memoria ex-ESMA.

Some of the films screening use different multimedia formats, such as animation in the case of 'Atrás de la Vajilla'

Some of the films use different multimedia formats, such as animation in the case of ‘Atrás de la Vajilla’

In the year where gender has come to the forefront in Argentina through the massive protest #NiUnaMenos, the Gender Views section should be a particular focus during the festival. On Sunday, the Fundación Mercedes Sosa (Humberto Primo 378) will host Espacio Mujeres, redes y maternidad. Three short films (‘Puja’, ‘Las formas de nacer. Historias de mujeres por el parto respetado’, and ‘Las que en vida fueran’) on giving birth, obstetrics, and respecting women’s choices during this critical life moment will be screened at 4pm. After the screenings, there is a play, ‘Parir-Nos’, directed by Eugenia Díaz, followed by a debate on the topic. On Tuesday, the topic turns to abortion at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, with a screening of the film ‘A quiet inquisition’ (Holen Sabrina Kahn and Alessandra Zeka), a presentation of a book on abortion and feminism by Mabel Belucci, and a roundtable debate. Other films in different sections of the festival also touch on gender, such as ‘Vestido de Novia’ (Marilyn Solaya), a film in the feature-length competition, which explores the entrenched machismo in Cuban society.

The festival is also a chance to see Argentine documentary filmmakers focusing on a wide range of human rights topics. A few from this selection include ‘Mujeres de la Mina’ (Loreley Unamuno and Malena Bystrowicz), on three women who work in the Cerro Rico mines of Potosí, Bolivia, which is included in the Argentine competition. Another, ‘Tacos Altos en el Barro’ (Rolando Pardo) follows six indigenous transvestites in the province of Salta. One of the Argentine short films in competition, ‘Invisible’ (Juan Manuel Echalecu) focuses on the issue of human trafficking through a woman and her baby in captivity.

'Born in Gaza'

From the film ‘Born in Gaza’

For more information on all the screenings and other activities during the week of the festival, check out the festival’s Facebook page and website—or check back at the Independent for updates on all the happenings!

Lead image from the film ‘Just Kids – The Lion and the Brave Mouse Nora’ 


Posted in Film, Human Rights, Social Issues, The ArtsComments (0)

Mural of the Month: California 1800

When the Centro Metropolitano de Diseño (CMD) held an open competition for the intervention of an area unfrequented by muralists, Pedro Perelman brought forward a sketch that would be selected by the residents of Barracas to adorn the undercarriage of the 9 de Julio Sur bridge on the autopista. Its selection resulted in a colossal feat of painting that took 26 days to finish, covering 1500m2 on the undersides and outer faces of the motorway.


‘La Piel de la Historia’ (The Skin of History) is the latest work by one of the founding members of the influential artistic collective FASE in Buenos Aires and involved the collaboration of the Chancho Rojo group and support from Sinteplast and Sullair.

“La Piel de la Historia” from Pedro Perelman on Vimeo.

The mural is a collection of recurring images that sees Pedro Perelman seeking new meaning in the elements that characterise the area: Boats, docks, factories whose chimneys spew coloured smoke, residing harmoniously alongside each other in a context which was once the most important industrial area of the city, an identity that it is still reluctant to abandon. Almost as if resisting the artistic addition, the bridge reveals the true grey of its concrete in some sections of the mural, which the artist decided to preserve within the composition of layers of his eclectic palette, i.e. the “second skin”.


Pedro Perelman’s academic training in graphic design (the artist used to be a professor in the UBA) was essential to the composing and realisation of this work. Many of Pedro’s works can be seen in the urban art meccas of the world.

This article was produced in collaboration with Graffitimundo, a non-profit organisation which celebrates graffiti and street art in Buenos Aires and supports local artists. For more information on the artists, exhibitions, and Buenos Aires street art tours, visit their website or facebook page

All photos courtesy of Pedro Perelman

Posted in Life & Style, The CityComments (0)

On Now: ArteBA 2015

Throughout the last two days, scores of wealthy collectors, gallerists, dealers, and delegations from the major art institutions of the world have been gathering in the cavernous building that houses the 24th edition of arteBA. As big and boisterous as ever, with 81 galleries from over 20 countries participating, this fair is still a magnet for the contemporary art elite; together lured by the gamut of blue chip galleries displaying work by Latin America’s finest artists.

(photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA)

(photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA)

Over the years, arteBA has established itself as one of the leading cultural events in Buenos Aires and the principal fair for any foreign art investor looking primarily to production from Latin America. Running until Sunday, organisers expect to see in excess of 80,000 visitors walk through the doors of La Rural – arteBA’s enduring host – many of whom will have journeyed from Europe and North America to attend. To meet the increasing needs of the galleries, and the growing expectations of the viewing public, arteBA 2015 presents an unprecedented number of supporting events and independent programmes, each defined by unique profiles.

A more social side to ArteBA - the Eloisa Cartonera section (photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA)

A more social side to ArteBA – the Eloisa Cartonera section (photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA)

The fair’s international reputation has been further enhanced this year with 21 galleries making their first arteBA appearance, many of which can be found in the ever-expanding U-Turn Project Rooms by Mercedes Benz. Under the curatorship of Jacopo Crivelli Visconti – an Italian art critic and writer based in São Paulo – the project’s theme this year is ‘The Order of Things’, a title borrowed from the book ‘The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences’, written by French philosopher Michel Foucault in 1966.

In the book’s preface, Foucault declares that “there is nothing more tentative, nothing more empirical (superficially, at least) than the process of establishing an order among things; nothing that demands a sharper eye or a surer, better-articulated language; nothing that more insistently requires that one allow oneself to be carried along by the proliferation of qualities and forms.” Visconti has adopted a loose interpretation of these claims as a conceptual starting point for the 15 U-Turn Project galleries.

Much of the focus in this section falls upon Latin American culture and society. In the Document Art Gallery booth, the mail artworks of Graciela Gutiérrez Marx and Clemente Padín are loaded with political undertones, while the poignant works of Fredi Casco and Voluspa Jarpa – both represented by Mor Charpentier – reflect upon stories throughout history that remain outside of common consciousness.

The labyrinthine Main Section of the fair is dominated by the modern masters. In each of the Cabinet sub-sections (a specific area within an individual gallery booth showcasing one or more works by a single artist), audiences are invited to appreciate significant works produced by a small selection of celebrated Latin American artists. Alberto Greco (Del Infinito Arte), Clorindo Testa (Galeria Jacques Martinez), and Osvaldo Romberg (Henrique Faria Fine Art) all show their signature pieces born from early 1960’s conceptualism; Peruvian José Carlos Martinat (Revolver) and Brazilian Maurício Ianés (Vermelho) explore the medium of performance art; Argentine Gabriel Valansi (Rolf Art) examines the various facets of violence; and his countryman Miguel Mitlag presents an ambitious installation. In the Ruth Benzacar space, Liliana Porter exhibits her trademark theatrical vignettes that simultaneously speak of humour and distress, banality and the human condition. These are the individual shows not to be missed.

photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA

photo courtesy of Fundación ArteBA

Away from the artists and the exhibitions, Isla de Ediciones provides an invaluable theoretical and bibliographical side to arteBA 2015. Featuring a comprehensive selection of books, catalogues, magazines, independent publications, and its own auditorium, Isla de Ediciones offers a pedagogical element to the fair. To encourage direct contact between publishing houses and the public, a number of organisations dedicated to the dissemination and understanding of artists’ books have been invited to participate. Representatives from these outlets will, throughout the fair, engage in numerous debates and panel discussions regarding the critical important of artist-made publications.

This celebration of Latin American art grows larger and more expansive by the year; the juxtaposition of emerging and established artists from across the region draws buyers from all corners of the world. With conspicuous amounts of disposable income on display, and record sales predicted, arteBA is evidence that the Latin American art scene is a thriving entity.

ArteBA 2015 runs until Sunday 7th June from 2-9pm at La Rural, Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo. For further information, visit www.arteba.org.


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La Salsera: The Home of Salsa in the City of Tango

In the middle of the tango capital of the world, a different rhythm proliferates the dance floor at 961 Yatay, in Almagro.

Opened in 1988, La Salsera today is a place for anyone to learn the rhythms of salsa and bachata, regardless of their dance experience or country of origin.

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

“La Salsera began as a place where foreign students came from all over Latin America – Venezuela, Colombia etc. – when they came to study in Argentina,” explains Jorge Romero, co-founder and president of La Salsera. “It was a place for the students to meet and listen to salsa. Because Argentines didn’t used to be very into it.”

I meet Romero at La Salsera in his third-floor office, which doubles as a recording studio. The space is littered with a mix of past and present in Latin music: conga drums, a Peruvian percussion cajón, acoustic and electric guitars, wide-screened computers, and fancy electronic recording equipment.

La Salsera’s story was closely tied to the economic environment of Argentina. In 1988, when it opened, Argentina was a cheaper option for students from abroad. But this changed after President Carlos Menem introduced the Convertibility Plan in 1991, tying the Argentine peso to the dollar. “Things changed,” recalls Romero. “It was more expensive to come here to study, but Argentines began to be able to travel, to go to Miami, Puerto Rico, to Cuba, and to discover salsa.”

And so the clientele of La Salsera became a mix of foreigners and Argentines familiar with Latin rhythms.

Twenty-seven years later, La Salsera offers classes every day of the week, and now includes the slower, sensual bachata, as well as Carribean zouk, and Brazilian kizomba. From Wednesdays to Saturdays, the night continues after classes, allowing dancers to stay until the early hours of the morning practicing what they have learned.

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

Advanced class at La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

The vibe in La Salsera is different from any boliche I’ve been to, including any other salsa club in Buenos Aires. Those who come to the classes range in age from 18 to 80, and include seasoned pros, timid beginners, and every ability in between. But apart from differences in culture, age, and ability of those who attend, they have one thing in common: the desire to dance.

From the moment you walk through the unassuming metal door, the lights, smiles, and pure joy on the faces of those spinning on the dance floor is infatuating. “Some begin with a desire to dance for therapy, make friends, do a little exercise,” says Romero, but soon, “they start getting into it and it becomes a necessity for them to come.”

The teachers’ enthusiasm for sharing their expertise is obvious, and three different levels of classes allow for dancers to find the perfect amount of challenge. Both intermediate and advanced classes add choreography throughout the month. At the same time, those who have never danced in their life can be found counting to eight and practicing the basic steps in the beginner class on the second floor.

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

Advanced class at La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

La Salsera’s reach extends beyond its own dance floor. The club collaborates in bringing international acts to Buenos Aires, including salsa star Celia Cruz, a friend of Romero’s, who came to the city 1994. Other legends in the genre who have come to Argentina through collaborations with La Salsera include El Canario, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and Oscar de Leon.

Among other projects, Romero’s musical group, Colonizados, mixes tango and [Cuban] son, creating the new genre of ‘Tangoson’. They will be opening for the legendary Buena Vista Social Club when they perform in the Gran Rex theatre at the end of May.

Plans for the future include “creating a degree with an official title of Latin American arts that has to do with music, dance, painting, literature, everything.” Together with the Buenos Aires Education Ministry, Romero is in the process of defining requirements for the degree and hopes to begin the programme next year.

La Salsera fills up quickly, especially on these beautiful clear autumn nights. However, says Romero, “there’s always room for one more,” so come dance and fall in love with the rhythms for yourself.

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon

La Salsera (Photo: Katie McCutcheon

For more information on La Salsera and their classes, check out their website and Facebook page. To learn more about Colonizados and to listen to their music, visit their page.

Posted in Music, TOP STORY, Underground BAComments (0)

Undercover BA: Hottest Emerging Designers

vanessa bell

Vanessa Bell is a freelance writer and trend hunter, running a bespoke personal shopping service called Creme de la Creme, as well as writing as a lifestyle, food, and fashion insider for Wallpaper*, Monocle, and other international publications. She’s lived in Buenos Aires since 2010, having visited all her life as her mother is Argentine. 

Many would argue that Argentina has become increasingly expensive over the last couple of years and even tourists are starting to feel the sting, including those savvy enough to change their dollars at the blue rate. Blue, official, whichever way you look at it, Buenos Aires is no longer the bargain haven it once was however, and when it comes to clothes shopping, there is a swathe of designers who are charging through the nose for pieces that wouldn’t look out of place hanging on the racks of a high street store, cheap knock-offs of labels from Europe and the US, made from crappy fabrics with shoddy confeccion. Seasonal rent hikes and inordinate overheads in the shopping malls and coveted real estate areas such as Palermo and Recoleta have left retailers with little choice: recoup the spiralling costs in the retail price of the garments or go under. Yet this shouldn’t be a cause for despair, it just means it’s important to be informed.

Now more than ever, it’s vital to shop smart in Buenos Aires. This isn’t always easy as many Argentine designers only have a local market, making it difficult for visitors to gauge quality through trial and error. Argentina produces some of the most sought after wools and alpaca in the world, premium quality cotton and sublime leather, much of it for export. At a time when there is little variation between the costs of clothing from one label or designer to another, it’s preferable to put an emphasis on those using these natural materials, and not be seduced purely by the design. I’ve adopted the policy of buying sparingly, and being selective. Personally, I would rather purchase one incredible piece a month that I know will stand the test of time. Below are a list of promising designers with a conscience, producing artisan, handcrafted pieces that don’t scrimp on materials and look amazing. World class design comes at a cost, but the good news is that with these designers you get what you pay for.

JHDaels1Juan Hernandez Daels

This young Argentine is already a veteran of the international fashion scene, having earnt his sartorial stripes working for Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons after studying fashion design at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Hernandez Daels has been selling his collections in Paris since 2009, and along with his business partner and fellow designer Paula Selba Avellaneda run hip local multi-brand Panorama (BA’s take on Opening Ceremony).

He inaugurated his much-awaited debut boutique two weeks ago, in one of the chicest locations in Recoleta. His latest collection and the decor of the store radiate an understated refinement, a rarity in Argentine’s fashion scene.

Although a fan of monochrome, this collection includes flashes of royal blues and dusky pinks, pieces with detailing and exquisite fabrics that wouldn’t look out of place alongside Margiela or McQueen.

House of Matching ColoursHOMC2 

Paula Selby Avellaneda is also a former student of the illustrious Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Upon graduating, she rented a small space in London and began contacting musicians, asking if they’d be willing for her to design pieces for them.

Her original signature customised leather jackets let to her becoming a regular fixture at Paris Fashion Week and establishing her label. She was stocked at Opening Ceremony, with her pieces worn by the likes of Chloe Sevigny and was even commissioned to design a garment for a Beyoncé music video.

She recently completed her showroom in the Botanical Gardens area having taken the decision to sell to the local market, as well as offering made to order bespoke wedding dresses. Her space is a delightful sneak peek into her eccentric and fantastical world, where ethereal dresses with exquisite rainbowbrite hand embroidery detailing hang casually alongside her bold leather jackets.

Magically, it just works.

By appointment only.

Photo by Estefania Colson

Photo by Estefania Colson


I’ve been a fan of Maydi since I first met her, a diminutive Argentine from Corrientes with a Parisian inflection to her Spanish after working for 12 years in fashion marketing in France.

For the last two years she has been spearheading the movement to honour and promote the use of noble local materials and traditional artisan production and techniques in high fashion and conceptual garments. Where she has pioneered, other young designers have quickly followed by example.

She produces accessories with her label Maydi, such as hats and gloves, as well as dresses, jumpers and snoods and avant garde scarves, the latter being her forte. The pieces are all hand knitted or produced on traditional looms, using only natural dyes.

Sourcing only the finest materials, the current collection uses 100% organic merino wool from the same provider who supplies Stella McCartney.

By appointment only, or on sale at TupaLafinur 3132.

Pardo HatsPardo hats 1

Sol Pardo, the young designer behind Pardo hats started out collaborating with Lena Martorello, providing the accessories for their first campaign. This launched her career as a milliner, spanning little over two years. She works outside the traditional conventions of millinery, and in her latest collection experiments with atypical materials, including acrylic into her designs.

She produces on a small scale, often on a made to order basis for magazine editorials, and individual clients. She recently won Argentina’s Harper’s Bazaar’s annual award for best accessory designer for 2015. The local fashion scene is still relatively conservative and few wear hats so the exposure and favourable press she is garnering will hopefully help challenge local prejudices.

By appointment only.


This experimental label is the creation of two young graduates from the University of Buenos Aires.

The debut collection has already caused a stir, with an original aesthetic rooted in geometry.

The pieces are characterised by tessellating triangular patterns, from repeated cut out designs to structured sleeves which produce a trompe d’oeil effect of circular movement.

Their pieces experiment with the contrasts between gravity and weightlessness in relation to the body, drawing on inspirations from interior design and architecture, creating structured pieces in light fabrics.

Their recent show at Fashion Edition BA was received favourably as was their appearance at the seasonal editions of the pop up design sales ROOMIE.

By appointment only.


Jessica KesselJK2

Jessica has been honing and refining her aesthetic and brand for several years now, having sold from a closed-door showroom in her flat until a few weeks ago when she opened her first store in the heart of San Telmo.

Her parents are antique dealers, something that is reflected in her great taste and eye for detail, indeed the furniture in her store are period pieces loaned to her, to die for mid-century decor she innovatively uses to display her beautiful shoes.

The latest collection is her most accomplished to date, autumnal palettes with contrasting heels and uppers, metallic details and boyish lace ups with feminine colourways.

For more insider tips, news, and updates, follow Vanessa on facebook or instagram

Lead image L-R – Jessica Kessel, Fractal, Juan Hernandez Daels. 

All images courtesy of designers, unless otherwise stated. 

Posted in Fashion, Life & StyleComments (0)

The Indy Eye: Feria Puro Diseño

It’s that time of the year again! The Feria PuroDiseño is upon us, this year celebrating its 15th anniversary. Taking place in Palermo until 25th May, over 350 designers from all over have transformed the sprawling La Rural into a spectacular exhibition, featuring innovation, creativity, and aesthetic. For an entrance fee of $70, you can browse the work of forward-thinking visionaries, including clothing and accessories, contemporary jewellery, equipment, objects, lighting, and digital design. Indy photographer Katie McCutcheon visited Pabellón Amarillo at La Rural to cover the event.

For more information on this year’s Puro Diseño, visit the website or Facebook page


2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

Eterno Saludo booth at Feria Puro Diseno (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

Eterno Saludo booth at Feria Puro Diseno (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)

2015 Feria PuroDiseno at La Rural (Photo: Katie McCutcheon)


Posted in Fashion, Life & Style, Lifestyle, Multimedia, PhotoessayComments (0)

A Night to Remember: The UWC Turns 80

Thursday 7th May was always going to be a memorable night, with the superclásico River-Boca playing and in the UK a closely-contested election unfolding. But for a large group of women in Buenos Aires, the real occasion to remember happened at the Club Francés, where the University Women’s Club (UWC) Buenos Aires celebrated its 80th anniversary.

Founded by 35 university-educated North American women in 1935, the UWC has continued throughout the past 80 years to grow under its motto: ‘Friendship and Learning through the Universal Mind’. With 115 members today of all ages, women from both Argentina and 15 other nationalities continue to meet monthly to share ideas, find friendship, and talk in English. Last Thursday, members and their guests gathered together at the Club Francés in Recoleta to celebrate in style.

Members of the Buenos Aires University Women's Club celebrate the anniversary

Members of the Buenos Aires University Women’s Club celebrate the anniversary


After a reception with a video of snapshots of the UWC over the years, the dinner kicked off with a welcome from the 2015 president, Kathryn Power. In her speech Kathryn paid homage to the guest of honor, Norma Gonzalez, executive director of the Fulbright Scholarship, and highlighted the milestones that the UWC and women in general have achieved in the last 80 years:

“One of the 35 women who in 1935 chartered what is now the UWC was Josephine Timberlake, a 1932 graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She was a typical US college girl of that time, a member of Delta Gamma sorority and the Glee Club. In Buenos Aires she was the president of UWC in 1951, an official hostess in the US consulate and dedicated much of her time to promote the teaching of ‘Speech for the Deaf. In our club directory she is listed as Mrs. Carl von de Bussche. It wasn’t until 1981 that the members of UWC were listed with their own first names. A milestone.

“In 1947 there were 2.3 men for every woman in US universities and in 1960 there were 1.6 men receiving university diplomas for each woman. Today a female college student is 33% more likely to graduate than her male classmates. And since 2004 more women are receiving masters and doctoral degrees in the United States than men. A milestone.

“In 1935 the most common and accepted fields of study for university women were teaching and nursing. Today, women in their early 30s are just as likely to be doctors or lawyers as they are to be teachers or secretaries and at least 50% of all students studying medicine, law or business administration are women. Unfortunately, women are still earning 22% less in salary than men even though they make up 50% of today’s work force. That’s a milestone we will have to work on.”

The evening continued and an excellent dinner of pumpkin soup with roast vegetable bruschetta, dry aged beef, and poached pears with pistachio ice cream was served by the Chef Sebastián Fouillade, with Cruz Alta wines.


UWC president Kathryn Power sings with Teatro Colón tenor Fermín Prieto

Door prizes were raffled thanks to generous donations by Bodegas Catena-Zapata, fair trade handicraft non-profit Matriarca, as well as Masako Kano for making place mats out of archive photos of the UWC. The flower centrepieces from the Palacio Duhau flower shop were also distributed among the members.

Dessert was followed by a live performance by Teatro Colón tenor Fermín Prieto, who sang a selection of solos from Carmen to Turandot and ended with the real surprise of the evening: UWC president Kathy Power, a soprano with the Teatro Colón’s Permanent Choir accompanied Prieto in The Merry Widow’s duet, Lippen Schweigen. It was a wonderful finale to a truly memorable night.

To round off the night, a toast was proposed by long-term member Maria-Rosa Braille: “May the UWC continue to be a lighthouse for all those, foreigners or locals, who are seeking friendship and intellectual nourishment.”

The UWC meets once a month for a luncheon with a speaker in English. Members also attend workshops and guided tours. Any woman with a university degree and an interest in speaking in English may join. The UWC sponsors a school in Entre Ríos through APAER and publishes a relocation book for expats ¡Hola Buenos Aires! available on Amazon, all proceeds to APAER via HelpArgentina. To join, see www.uwcba.com.ar or the Facebook page or write to u.w.c.news@gmail.com


Posted in Expat, Life & StyleComments (0)

Mural of the Month: Tacuarí and Venezuela

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada is a Cuban-American artist whose large-scale works in charcoal are unique in terms of both scale and medium. Having left his mark on the city some years ago when he painted a tribute to his recently deceased father-in-law in Colegiales, Rodriguez-Gerada was back in Buenos Aires at the end of this summer to create a stunning and moving mural in Monserrat.

Jorge 1

The wall, which is the backdrop to a car park, bears the face of a young boy. This is “David”, an 11-year-old student in the Isauro Arancibia Educational Centre in neighbouring San Telmo, which provides a space for 200 homeless children and teenagers to attend school. The centre faces potential demolition to make way for the Metrobus and the mural was painted to highlight its plight.

The wall forms part of ‘Identity’, a series of hyper-realistic portraits of anonymous locals that the artist began in 2002. The intention is to elevate these unknown residents to the status of social icons, and to challenge the idea of what is presented to the public via large format works, usually via advertising. The project was realised in conjunction with ResNonVerba.


This article was produced in collaboration with Graffitimundo, a non-profit organisation which celebrates graffiti and street art in Buenos Aires and supports local artists. For more information on the artists, exhibitions, and Buenos Aires street art tours, visit their website or facebook page

All photos by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada

Posted in Life & Style, The CityComments (0)

The Many Sides to Circus in Buenos Aires

“Do you see that window up there where the ray of sun is shining through? Circus was like that window, opening up my world and introducing me to a world with sunlight, with colour.”

Leandro, a professional acrobat, clown, and instructor of circus arts in Buenos Aires adds: “Circus is the best thing that happened to me in my life.”

Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Canadian circus company that will be performing at Polo Circo. (photo: Alexandre Galliez)

Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Canadian circus company that will be performing at Polo Circo. (photo: Alexandre Galliez)

For the next ten days, the circus arts become ultra-visible in Buenos Aires as the seventh Polo Circo Festival descends upon the city, bringing both national and international performances.The Polo Circo, an initiative of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture, began in 2009 and brings well-known contemporary circus groups from countries including France, Canada, and Brazil in addition to local Argentine groups. But what about the rest of the year? When the festival ends next week, what else makes up the Buenos Aires circus scene?

On Saturday 2nd May, circus organisation Circo Abierto held a day-long seminar of panel discussions, speakers, and workshops to consider various characteristics of the circus arts, especially focused on social transformation.

Such arts alive today were born on street corners, inside cultural centres, and within both independently operated and state-supported circus schools around the city, and the seminar allowed participants to consider the position of circus within the greater theme of social transformation.

Subsuelo Cultural, Ciudad Universitaria. (Photo: Rocío Alvarez)

Subsuelo Cultural, Ciudad Universitaria. (Photo: Rocío Alvarez)

Historical Context 

Despite the Polo Circo bringing circus to prominence in recent years, circus in Argentina has a long and varied history.

According to Julieta Infantino, author of the new book ‘Circo en Buenos Aires’, circus has experienced “tremendous growth and change” in the years since its resurgence following the end of the dictatorship in 1983.

The origins of circus in Argentina can be traced to the national circo criollo, a combination of theatre and traditional circus arts that is unique to Argentina. The moment of the popularity of the circo criollo, which lasted from the late 1880s until the 1970s, was a “small moment of glory for circus in Argentina in the grand history of the art, but soon returned to occupy this space of being undervalued,” says Infantino.

The simultaneous economic struggle of many of the larger circus companies, coupled with the rise of television, contributed to the decline of traditional circus companies toward the end of the 1970s. Repressive policies and fear suppressed circus activity in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship.

“It was a cultural dictatorship, where there wasn’t any cultural liberty of any kind. And much less of the underground culture, parallel culture, revolutionary culture, or culture that was different,” comments Mariana Paz, director of Redes Club del Circo in Villa Crespo. She was part of the generation of “those who studied circus without pertaining to circus families.”

Paz, who had a background in contemporary dance, studied circus under an instructor who “used to teach acrobatics to anyone. Anyone. Big, small, medium-sized, fat, skinny —people learned to do acrobatics.” This kind of openness towards those who could practise circus characterised the contemporary circus that took place following the dictatorship.

Members of the Circo Social del Sur (Photo: A La Gorra Producciones)

Members of the Circo Social del Sur (Photo: A La Gorra Producciones)

Following the dictatorship, Infantino notes the resurgence of “liberty, experimentation, and the recovery of certain popular languages”, which resulted in an “appropriation by artists of the space of the street”, something that had previously been unavailable for activities of expression and performance, such as circus.

When the brothers Jorge and Oscar Videla opened the Escuela Circo Criollo in 1982 “it was a boom, it was like throwing a stone into a pond and watching the rings expand,” explains Infantino.

Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis was a major turning point in circus. “There were two simultaneous responses to the crisis,” says Infantino. First, “there was an increasing seasonal migration to Europe by the more professionalised street artists,” after which came the “opening of new places of teaching” of the circus arts. The Centro Cultural Trivenchi in Barracas, and Redes Club de Circo in Villa Crespo were among the first.

La Caravana Escuela de Circo (photo courtesy of La Caravana)

La Caravana Escuela de Circo (photo courtesy of La Caravana)

“Now I can’t even count the number of schools there are. What has been seen in these schools is a new approach to offering workshops. This method began to appear, and it began to open a new offering for job opportunities.” Circus became available to people as a hobby, in addition to a professional career in performance.

With these new methods, in the middle of the 2000s, circus came into fashion, and with it, new styles of shows, with more access and the opening of these spaces to more and more people, and a “space of greater legitimation of the circus arts”, says Infantino.

Disagreement with Government Support

Jumping on the trend, in 2009 the first international festival of circus was held in Buenos Aires by the Polo Circo.

With this came “big promises, and also tensions”. There were disputes due to differing sentiments on the role of public policy in the arts. “Mega international event versus the promotion of local art?” explains Infantino.

In 2011, following the third Buenos Aires Polo Circo festival, a group called Circo Abierto was organised, publishing a complaint signed by 500 members of the circus community, stating that this programme “seems to have become a space for private use, but financed publicly.” Despite the Polo Circo’s goals of “creating structures of support that ensure the promotion of the circus sector”, Circo Abierto’s complaint cites a lack of promotion of the circus arts, lack of open auditions, and a space of private use with public financing as damaging to the city’s circus culture.

Despite the support by the city ombudsman in 2013, who stated that “overcoming the aforementioned omissions will contribute to the recognition of cultural diversity and the opening of the varied artistic proposals originated in the scope of circus,” many argue that little has changed.

In an interview with Jorge Videla, co-founder of the Escuela Circo Criollo and a member of one of the most important families in Argentine circus history, he explains: “The Polo Circo belongs to the government, it’s a political act… it’s a different story, that has nothing to do with the circus. Neither the people, nor the spirit. It’s something else. They [the government] don’t help—in other countries like France, they subsidise circus artists… here, they don’t.”

Paz agrees: “The state support is minimum, and so self-sustainability has to do with getting the funds, the space, and being able to make a living doing what you love without having that state support.”

Despite spotty government support for circus, opportunities for education in the circus arts are boundless and continue to grow. Four-year degrees in the circus arts now exist in Tres de Febrero and San Martín universities. Countless circus schools, cooperatives, and cultural centres offer workshops and classes in various circus disciplines, including acrobatics, aerial arts, juggling, and clowning. These opportunities allow every kind of student, from the most advanced to someone who has never done a cartwheel in their life, to learn the circus arts.

The Circo Abierto (photo: Michalina Kowol)

The Circus and Social Transformation seminar (photo: Michalina Kowol)

A Circus Law?

The ‘Circus and Social Transformation’ seminar is part of Circo Abierto’s greater mission towards the creation of a Circus Law, which, according to the group, seeks to “have a budget designated directly to our activity, to regard and protect our rights as artists and cultural workers.” Though they are still in the planning process of the law, the next step is a forum in the coming months, in which members from all sides of the circus community will be invited to participate and share their input in the creation of the law.

Problems that the law seeks to resolve include the regulation of parks and plazas where street circus performers often fight for performance space. For example, “one park may be regulated by the person in charge of looking after it, another is regulated by the police, and a third is regulated by the city government,” says Néstor Martelini, member of Circo Abierto and street performer.

Issues of regulation of circus instruction also concern Circo Abierto’s members. “There are people who are really teachers and there are others who took two months of trapeze classes and call themselves a trapeze teacher,” he commented at a recent meeting.

As was evidenced in the workshop, students, teachers, and performers of the circus arts are full of different perspectives on what circus is all about.

The next generation of circus (photo: Michalina Kowol)

The next generation of circus (photo: Michalina Kowol)

“An important part of Circo Abierto is discovering that there are a tonne of branches within this art, and it is important to discover and research each one,” says Fédérico Fernández, another member. Despite their differences, however, he states, “we are all circus workers”.

A common thread flowed through the day, though: “Circus is happiness,said Geraldine Eriz. “Circus comes from moments of happiness that are born from moments of sadness,” adds Fernando Stivala.

As Infantino knows, one thing is for sure: “Circus is a really exciting topic right now.”

The Polo Circo Festival takes place from 7th-17th May, and the agenda can be found at their website. To find out more about Circo Abierto and their upcoming events, visit their website.

Click on the links to find at more about Circo Social, Redes Club de CiroLa Caravana Circo, and Subsuelo Cultural

Lead image courtesy of Redes Club de Circo. 

Posted in The Arts, Theatre, TOP STORYComments (1)

Fire in Textile Sweatshop Kills Two Children

At the scene of yesterday's fire in Flores (Photo courtesy of La Alameda)

At the scene of yesterday’s fire in Flores (Photo courtesy of La Alameda)

Two children died yesterday after a fire broke out in a house that functioned as an illegal textile sweatshop in Flores, Buenos Aires.

The children – aged seven and ten – were unable to escape the basement where they were sleeping when the fire began. Two adults, thought to be the parents of at least one of the children, were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and burns. All four came from Bolivia, according to InfoJus Noticias.

Emergency services reported that rescue efforts were hampered because the entrance to the house was partially blocked, and part of the building’s interior had collapsed.

Neighbours told police and local reporters that the house at Páez 2796 was among several illegal workshops producing clothing in the vicinity.

According to the cooperative La Alameda, which fights against slave labour and sweatshops, the house had been reported to authorities as a clandestine textile factory in September 2014.

Head of La Alameda and city legislator Gustavo Vera said that there had never been an investigation into the report, which including information on 30 suspected sweatshops in the capital. Most have unsafe working conditions and produce clothes for street vendors or La Salada, the country’s biggest black market.

Yesterday’s incident drew comparison with another tragedy in 2006, which exposed the hidden and illegal textile industry that operates in Buenos Aires and mainly affects the Bolivian community.

In that case a fire in an illegal sweatshop in Caballito killed six people, including four children. The building had been authorised to produce clothing, but it was vastly over-populated with dozens of mainly-Bolivian families living and working in slave-like conditions.

Though the incident forced the resignation of city government officials in the Workers’ Protection Office, no one has been charged with a crime.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (1)

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24th March marks the anniversary of the 1976 coup that brought Argentina's last dictatorship to power, a bloody seven year period in which thousands of citizens were disappeared and killed. Many of the victims passed through ESMA, a clandestine detention centre turned human rights museum

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