Drawing on our inner ape

Posted on February 3, 2011

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Three years ago an ex-colleague of mine told me he was packing in the daily grind of sports reporting in London, for a more laid back, adventurous lifestyle in sunny Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The home of football, the Tango (the dance, not the revolting carbonated drink) and some of the best beef money can buy. I was green with envy!

The Tango

Mamma Afrika (best mate) and I had taken a sojourn there in 2007 and I fell head-over-heels in love with the city. After a somewhat traumatic journey to get there – we missed our connecting flight in Madrid, due to heavy snow in London and what a pa-lava it was getting on the next available one –  we were rewarded with one of the best holidays we’ve had together.

We drank in the Latin atmosphere like a quality Malbec and experienced a city peppered with culture, history, beautiful green parks,  cool neighbourhoods, über-chic restaurants and bars and some of the most attractive men and women I’ve ever clapped eyes on.

One of the things that struck me about Buenos Aires was the graffiti. I’m not on about trashy  tags that are sprayed all over walls, like they are up and down the UK. Nope,  I’m talking about creative and in some cases, intricate art work that’s taken time and skill to produce. It may not be to everyone’s taste , but at least it doesn’t say, “Razza is sick, dis is 4 me homies in da hood”.

I do worry about the future generation. I’m almost tempted to follow the example of the Roman solider in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and go around correcting spelling, grammar and the importance of using words found only in the dictionary. (If you’ve never seen this clip, it’s well worth the three minutes!)

Street art found in Buenos Aires

You may not think street art is enough to build a career out of, but my savvy friend has done just that. Now Matt Fox-Tucker (should have been an actor with a name like that) is not daubing his artistic talent across the city. Using his skills as a journalist and more recently a photographer, he’s documenting the graffiti , murals and stencils found around different neighbourhoods, interviewing the artists and the clever boy has already published a number of books on this subject and become quite a talking-head on street art.

His latest book, has been co-produced with Guilherme Zauith and it’s called Textura Dos: Buenos Aires Street Art. More on the book and how to buy it can be found on his blog http://www.buenosairesstreetart.blogspot.com

Now stop shouting, “What has this got to do with primates?”.

A number of artists seem to have a penchant for them, in particular apes. Matt has emailed me over some lovely photos of primates living in the urban jungle that is Buenos Aires.  Enjoy!

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Posted in: South America