Fiji and Argentina strengthened their alliance in January 2018 with a 90 day visa-free travel agreement for Fijians wanting to explore the cultural capital of South America. Easily accessible via a stop-over in Auckland, Mai Life will be taking readers on an exploration of Argentine food, traditions, places, people and landscape in upcoming issues.
Every capital city in a rising nation has an area cordoned off for the hip, edgy, millennials. Barcelona has El Born, Paris has Montmartre, London has Shoreditch and Buenos Aires has Palermo. One thing all of these areas have in common is that before the rise of the hipsters, they were known as the rougher parts of town with low real estate values and an absence of chain stores. In fact, it was precisely this low-key, vintage affordability that attracted the millennials — and Palermo is no different. Today, Palermo is so popular that even within the barrio, smaller factions have formed. Of the main factions, you have Palermo Soho which is home to Asian-Argentine fusion restaurants, boutique op shops, handmade jewellery and tattoo parlours; Palermo Hollywood has the most popular bars and nightclub strip of Buenos Aires; and Palermo Chico which is the most elegant and expensive slice of Palermo — this is where Blair Waldorf would buy an apartment in the Argentine version of Gossip Girl.
No matter where you are in Palermo, one thing is prevalent and that is street art. There is a bustling air of careless freedom in Palermo where artists are encouraged by the government to sprawl their creations across public walls. The magnificent artistry does not stop at public property though, there are many restaurants and private apartment blocks which welcome the talented street artists and wear the paint with pride. Vibrant colours representing the South American heritage, muddled with modern strokes of contemporary visualisation add to the edge and charm of Palermo. Unlike other cities, the street artists of Buenos Aires are a tight community who work together to build the facade of their town. Walking through Palermo, you will see layers of art which have been built on top of existing pieces so that no one artist replaces another’s work — instead, each artist builds on what was there before to create a stunning mosaic of identity and expression. A walk through Palermo with a camera is not to be missed on your visit to Buenos Aires — easily accessible from the city centre via a short tenminute ride on the metro, the street art of Palermo is quickly rising to the ranks of grand historical monuments in the capital city of Argentina.