Mention Argentina and people will usually associate it with football superstars like Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, the passionate tango and renowned literary works.
The Argentina Festival De Arte 2018 (Arfa 2018), currently showing at the National Art Gallery (NAG) in Kuala Lumpur till Oct 28, adds more to the list, offering a sampling of the South American nation’s best contemporary artists.
Judging from Gustavo Navone’s paintings, it still looks like art is deeply connected with football in Argentina. Navone contributes a work featuring the legendary La Bombonera Stadium, the home of Boca Juniors, in Buenos Aires.
But there is a lot more on offer at Arfa 2018, a temporary touring exhibition to discover Argentinian contemporary artists and their works, spanning hyper-realism, surrealism, figurative art and abstract fields.
Arfa 2018, making its first appearance in Asia, features 30 Argentinian artists, including Bettina Attas, Pedro Adolfo Lobos, Marcelo Pieretto, Maria Arisi Demaria, Gerardo Quintana, Sabina Zamudio and Roberto Davalos.
A big chunk of the artist line-up, curated by Gustavo Masutti Llach, hails from capital city Buenos Aires, while cities like Cordoba, Salta, and Santa Fe are also represented.
More than 40 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, digital art and textile art, can be viewed at NAG.
Manuel Balaguer Salas, Argentinian ambassador to Malaysia, is looking forward to introducing his country’s art.
“It is a unique occasion to showcase to Malaysians the richness and variety of Argentinian culture,” says Salas.
“We hope Malaysians will get to know about our landscapes, people and the values and themes that our artists try to reflect in their works,” he adds.
In recent years, Argentinian contemporary art has gained ground in the Latin American scene, especially with Art Basel choosing Buenos Aires as the host for its first Cities Week last month.
In Buenos Aires, there is no shortage of art as seen in major museums like Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) and Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (Mamba), galleries and street art.
The inaugural Arfa festival was held at the Latino Art Museum in Pomona, Los Angeles last year.
“We want to expand and communicate the intangible richness of the Argentine cultural values to the world by hosting this festival every year in a different major international cultural city”, says Marcela Temes, general director of Arfa.
Argentina Festival De Arte 2018 is showing at the National Art Gallery, Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur till Oct 28. Opening hours: 10am-6pm. Admission is free. For more details, call 03-4026 1700. Visit www.artgallery.gov.my and www.festivaldearte.com.