Hidden away on Av. Santa Fe is the artistic space ‘Galería Patio del Liceo’. As soon as you enter, you know you have stumbled upon something unique: walking down the large passageway to the courtyard, walls decorated with beautiful paintings by talented and renowned Latin American artists, is like entering an art gallery itself. And the theme continues in the leafy courtyard, which has an effortlessly stylish bohemian feel, and is the centre point for more than a dozen creative enterprises.
Around the three-floor space, I found many artists eager to show me around and tell me about their work. First I met Juliana, a Brazilian who owns a gallery, Avalancha, and Ulysis, a hairdresser. First we went to Ulysis’ workspace, where preparations were underway for an embroidery workshop due to take place at that evening. Like everything in this space, Ulysis’ salon oozes individuality and style – no wash basin, just a table, a chair and a pretty mirror. The space also houses a small exhibition of colourful sculptures made by Ulysis’ carpentry teacher – woodwork is another one of his passions, he explains.
Next Juliana took me to top floor of the patio, where balconies overlook the courtyard and independent galleries display an eclectic range of art. Here you can find fine art, silk screen prints, sculpture, photography, and audiovisual creations. One shop sells beautiful artisanal jewellery made from textiles; we peeked in and saw two girls sitting on the floor working on new pieces. Almost all these galleries offer weekly workshops where members of the public can learn photography, make-up, fine art and silk screen printing and even tarot reading and astrology.
Juliana’s gallery, Avalancha, is on the second floor. She was just preparing for the opening of a new exhibition. She explained that she wants to give “new and up and coming artists the opportunity to show their work and even to take art out of the gallery onto the streets.” Next door to Avalancha, her friend sells vintage clothing alongside the owner’s own creations.
Continuing down to the courtyard, sliding past a photo shoot taking place on the stairs, I came across Sacha, whose stunning, handcrafted wood tables are made from antique wood reclaimed from house renovations.Martín’s illustration store/publishing house was my next discovery, specialising in cartoon strips and illustrations and boasting a display of giclée art work from various artists. He gave me a copy of their latest publication, Chikismiqui, a magazine full of poems and art work exclusively from women. According to Martín, “there are so many talented female illustrators, yet the most famous are men.” He also told me about their new exhibition, featuring art inspired by an old German children’s story Struwwelpeter.
As I was about to leave the shop, a smiling lady who had been browsing the books greeted us. Marta, a musician and artist, originally from Peru, told us that her work was on display at one of the galleries. She enthusiastically showed me her impressive, delicate paper art work and introduced me to an artist friend who was just about to teach a Christmas themed origami workshop.
The Patio del Liceo offers you a glimpse inside an artist’s world, bringing together people from different backgrounds and with different skills who learn from each other. Wandering back through the courtyard, feeling inspired, my head spinning from from the energy and creativity of the space, I noticed a small cafe and thought that spending a sunny afternoon here, sitting with a friend at one of the cute tables in the courtyard, having a drink and soaking up the creative atmosphere, could be the perfect plan for a spring weekend in Buenos Aires.
Galería Patio del Liceo, Av. Santa Fe 2729.