On Friday, June 14, the Liberal Arts and URGD students participated in art workshops at the Centro Conviven community center in the Mataderos neighborhood. The students divided up in two groups: a photography workshop and a guitar workshop. In the photography workshop, the professor showed and did exercises with the images of Argentine photographer, Leandro Piñeiro. In the guitar workshop, they prepared a song, called “Costumbres Argentinas”, that they sang while we had tea.
It was a great afternoon for cultural exchange!
These are some pictures that the students took during the photo workshop:
Last Saturday Maeve Stewart and I participated as CIEE
cultural correspondents in the “Hidden Walls Graffiti Tour” run by the Buenos
Aires based company Graffitimundo. I am hesitant to use the term
graffiti, as opposed to street art, because of the negative connotation that it
traditionally has as a form of vandalism. Anybody who has spent time in Buenos
Aires has surely noticed its plethora of large masterfully painted murals,
demonstrating a street art culture that is clearly more than simple tagging or
territory marking. Street art in Buenos Aires, like much of Latin America, has
historically had much more of an important role in civil society. While the
hip-hop-style street art culture you see today didn’t hit the BA scene until
the 90s, street murals and messages have always been a means of expressing
political ideas, and have even been used as forms of government propaganda. The
culture that erupted in the 90s inevitably reflected this tradition with a
clear emphasis on social and political commentary, especially after the
economic crisis in 2001. It also came about as a celebration of free speech, to
spite a military dictatorship (1976-1983) that whitewashed every wall in the
city and murdered people for having long hair or wearing miniskirts. The
graffiti movement thus had an image of positive evolution, from gray to
colorful, from silence to voices heard.
Our amazingly knowledgeable tour guide explained all of this to us as she bussed
us through the more “ghetto” neighborhoods outside the old port district of La
Boca, where the tour began. La Boca may
have the strongest graffiti presence; full of murals in remembrance of the
“desaparecidos,” of legendary Boca Juniors star Maradona, or simply artistic
images up for personal interpretation (for example, the floating cube
man.) But the most impressive works were in the neighboring barrio of
Barracas, in residential areas unfortunately not often visited and almost never
seen by tourists. Here we found elaborate murals of the Earth breaking into
puzzle-piece people, a human parilla, and animals dressed for a formal function
(personal favorite). While often done with the traditional style of spray-paint
over hand-cut stencils, a surprising amount are meticulously painted. This
reflects the lack of regulation (or care) by Buenos Aires police, allowing
artists to work during the day and at their own pace. Sometimes artists are
even privately contracted by homeowners to add some color to their walls.
The tour finished at a bar in Palermo Soho with an art studio in the back and a
beautiful rooftop, frequented by some of the big names in the Buenos Aires
graffiti scene. I am happy to say that I can now recognize some of their works:
Jaz and his intricately shaded masked wrestlers, the Triangulo Dorado trio and
their abstract neon figures. It is amazing to me to think that these are only
two of 32 artists listed in Graffitimundo’s webpage, and that our
three-hour bus tour only skimmed the surface of the vibrant street art culture
that exists in Buenos Aires.
On June 7, the CPH students prepared activities for the children at the Mataderos neighborhood community center, El Centro Conviven. These activities were aimed at teaching the children and their parents about one of the neighborhood’s public health issues – animal bites and illnesses that can be transmitted through these bites. The students began by talking with the children about their pets and favorite animals, drawing pictures with them and explaining how while your pets can be like friends, they can also be dangerous. The kids were taught several tips to avoid bites: do not touch unknown animals, do not bother an animal that is eating, etc. Next, they played a game with the children, teaching them what to do if they do get bitten – wash the bite and go straight to the doctor. Lastly, we gathered the students together and sang a song written by one of the CPH students. During their time at the Centro Conviven, the students also helped vaccinate dogs and cats and handed out information.
On June 4, we went to the EL GATO NEGRO café, founded in 1928, and we had the opportunity to talk to Jorge Crespo, the owner and grandson of the café’s founder. He told us the history of the café and we asked him questions about everything, enjoying a nice afternoon sampling sandwiches, medialunas and coffee, taking in the place’s characteristic ambience. We learned a lot about the hierbas, species and seeds, about the old and new neighborhoods, about the origin of the café’s name and logo, and about what it means to continue onward with this familiar business that carries such historic weight.
GREETINGS FROM THE COMMUNITY PUBLIC HEALTH SUMMER PROGRAM!
All of the students arrived to Buenos Aires safe and sound and have been enjoying the city so far. They are went through the first days of adaptation and they managed it very well!
One of our first activities was the welcome dinner at the well-known local restaurant, Prosciutto, with a mix of Argentine and Italian cuisine. Then, they spent their first night at the Zentra Hotel and, the next afternoon, the students moved in with their host families in Buenos Aires after attending workshops about safety & security, housing and public transportation.
Below is a picture of CPH students when they were welcomed by the LA and URGD program students during an informal lunch. They all enjoyed chatting and eating together!!
During the weekend, the program also organized a city tour about the history of Buenos Aires focusing on the most relevant health-related topics.
On Wednesday, May 23, the students of the CIEE Summer Public Health program had the opportunity to visit two underprivileged neighborhoods to the north and south of Buenos Aires, Retiro and Flores, respectively, in order to visit the health centers in each, meet the directors, and discuss their public health issues, such as access to medication, reproductive health, water quality, housing for dense populations, working conditions of undocumented migrant workers, etc.
The 2013 Community Public Health Summer Program students have had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of cultural activities so far. Among these, were a feast at the Potluck Patrio, a night of dancing at the Maldita Milonga, a tango concert at the Almagro Tango Club and a visit to the Exposición de la sociedad de trabajo at the Casa de Bicentenario. We look forward to sharing even more cultural activities with our students in the future!
EXCURSION TO IGUAZU
Last weekend, the 2013 Summer Community Public Health program took a trip to Puerto Iguazú and the Parque Nacional Iguazú in the northern Misiones region, which sits on the triple border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Over the course of three full days, we had the opportunity to attend a lot of community public health tours and lectures and see the incredible scenery that this region has to offer.
On Friday, we arrived in Puerto Iguazú after a rather long bus ride, ready to hit the ground running. We first headed to the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tropical (INMeT) to learn all about one of the region’s main community health concerns: mosquitos and the diseases they can transmit, such as dengue and yellow fever. Afterward, we, along with INMeT health professionals, toured some of the town’s neighborhoods, gaining first-hand experience in the field.
On Saturday, traipsing through a torrential downpour, we toured the facilities at the Hospital SAMIC with one of the hosptial’s doctors, Dr. Nora del Valle Mendozo. We got to learn about the hospital’s infrastructure, interrelation with medical assistance and cooperation with MERCOSUR. Afterward, Dr. Beatriz Gonzalez led a talk concerned with the socio-sanitary reality of the region.
On Sunday, we took advantage of a gorgeous day to visit one of Argentina’s most beautiful nature reserves, the Parque Nacional Iguazú. Here, we not only toured the park to see the rainforest, wildlife and immense waterfalls, but also to talk about the public health concerns with influxes of tourist populations and its impact on the region.
Overall, it was an incredible trip, both academically and culturally!
Last tuesday, CIEE invited students from all programs to the Almagro Tango Club (Medrano 688) to see a concert featuring El Engrupe and Violentango, two contemporary Argentine tango bands. Tango has a long history in Argentina, and contemporary bands like Violentango are redefining the traditional standards of this beloved musical genre. According to the band, the name Violentango describes the blending of a “violent” rock ethic with the already explosively passionate tango culture.
Last year, the CIEE Study Center Buenos Aires hosted a traditional American feast – Thanksgiving dinner – in order to not only celebrate this holiday, but also to bring together American and Argentine cuisine potluck style. This year, on May 23, we held a similar potluck feast, this time celebrating the important Argentine holiday, the Semana de Mayo (May 18 – 25), which celebrates the moment when Argentina declared itself independent from Spain in 1810. This important holiday, like our Thanksgiving, is also an important culinary occasion, featuring typical Argentine foods, like empanadas, locro (a hearty thick stew) and pastelitos (a sweet pastry). This event, like Thanksgiving, intended to bring together two distinct cultures by sharing conversation, celebration, and, of course, delicious foods. The best way to get to know a new place is through its food!
On Thursday, May 30, the Cuestiones Culturales class went with Prof. Corigliano to visit the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), founded in 1930, which became a headquarters for workers’ organizations, unions and various political parties, including the Peronist Party. As Prof. Corigliano said, Peronism not only has its history in books and memories, but has left its mark on buildings, plazas and neighborhoods as well. The tour was intended to track these footprints, touring the scenes that explain the political and cultural conflicts that developed after the arrival of Juan D. Perón on the political scene, which are fundamental to understanding Argentina in last half of the 20th century. The tour focused primarily on one of the most important figures of Peronism, Eva Duarte, her life, her political career, her tragic death, and the myth of Evita that continues to live on.
On Wednesday, May 29, the Lenguaje en Acción course (taught by Prof. Gabriela Yocco) took a photographic tour of the Galería Güemes and the Palacio Barolo as a part of the “Palabra y paisaje urbano en la literatura argentina” (Word and Urban Landscape in Argentine Literature) class to see firsthand the intersection of architecture and literature.
The Galería Güemes
The Galería Güemes was built in 1915 and is considered one of the first skyscrapers in Buenos Aires. This Galería fixed its place in history when renowned Argentine author Julio Cortázar incorporated it into his novel, El otro cielo (The Other Heaven), extending it in the Parisian Galerie Vivienne, so that the same air would circulate through both cities of his life, the air of fantasy.
The story’s protagonist describes the Galería Güemes as, “the cavern of Treasure where there was a delicious mix between the vision of sin and mint tablets, where the evening newspapers proclaimed crimes on every page and the underground lights burned where unattainable realistic movies happened. My girlfriend, Irma, found it unexplainable that I liked to wander through the city center or the southern neighborhoods at night, and if she knew of my predilection for the Pasaje Güemes, it would not cease to shock her.”
The Palacio Barolo
The Palacio Barolo, built in 1923, is inspired by the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, its architecture reflecting fragments of his Divine Comedy. Industrialist Luis Barolo and architect Mario Palanti came together with the idea of bringing Dante’s ashes to Buenos Aires, eventually constructing a building that combines Venetian gothic and Indian religious architectural styles. The building is divided into three parts: the ground floor is the Inferno, the first 14 floors are Purgatory, the rest are Paradise and the top tower is God. The building goes even further to represent Dante’s poetry, however. The Palacio Barolo is exactly 100 meters tall, representing the 100 parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The offices on each floor are divided 11 x 22, representing the 11 or 22 verses each poem contains, with a total of 22 floors altogether. The conjunction of numbers represents a circle, which for Dante, was the perfect figure. Dante’s ashes would rest below the bronze statue, “Ascension”, which represents the poet’s spirit leaving Purgatory and rising to Paradise through the Southern Cross. It can’t be, though, because his ashes never left Ravena.