The famous faces of Argentina stare out at you from every wall, bus, statue and billboard in the city. You will come across historic icons worshiped by the Argentine people to an almost religious level, modern day celebrities whose every move is followed and reported on the country’s multiple trash TV channels and newspapers…. Then other famous faces – disliked by some, adored by many, and debated by the rest.
Here’s some of our favourite famous Argentine faces, that those travelling or living in Argentina are bound to come across at some point:
Since his move to Rome, the former Archbishop’s of Buenos Aires has become even more popular on his home turf, and not to mention across the world – voted TIME Person of the Year in 2013 and on the front cover of Rolling Stones in early 2014.
It seems Argentines have found a greater devotion to the Holy See after proudly watching his transfer to Rome. Within the capital, you will see images of Pope Francis on shop windows, buses, dashboards… and every conceivable item you can think of (our favourite is a Pope Francis emblazoned thermos-no doubt a popular companion for the country’s favourite past-time: drinking ‘mate’).
“In all of Latin America, only one other woman has aroused an emotion, devotion and faith comparable to those awakened by the Virgin of Guadalupe. In many homes, the image of Evita is on the wall next to the Virgin.” Rousso-Lenoir
The former first lady and much loved leading lady, Eva Peron, not only graces the front of the Ministerio del Trabajo building along Buenos Aires’s most famous street (on 9 de Julio) but is also found on the country’s new (ish) 100 peso bills. She is also featured in her own museum, on stamps, as well as endless restaurants and cafes paying homage to her.
As the footballer has found much success in Europe over the last few years, his following in Argentina was definitely present but not quite the stuff of legends… That is until 2014’s World Cup and, as seen below, legend he now is.
It seems Messi’s face, be it emblazoned on street art, across billboards, magazine covers or souvenirs, is one no one’s getting away from in Argentina any time soon (no matter how hard they try).
Julio Cortázar, a celebrated writer in Argentina and across the world, is known as ‘the modern master of the short story‘. Interestingly he was actually born in Belgium to Argentine parents but the whole family (and a very young Cortázar) did return to Buenos Aires in 1919.
Throughout this last year (2014) , Argentina has been celebrating what would have been 100 years of Cortázar’s life, which has meant Argentina (particularly Buenos Aires) has been filled with photos, posters and street art the much-loved writer.
Even years after this footballer’s moments of glory and time as Argentina’s football manager, the face of Maradona is still very much present within the capital city and beyond… If he’s not featuring as a pundit on the TV or radio then you’re sure to see him alongside Messi’s face – on street murals , merchandise and anything else made by those wanting to make a quick peso or two!
Cristina (Fernández de) Kirchner
Argentines either love her or hate her. There’s not much in between. The current President of Argentina and first woman President of the country is seen everywhere as you wander around the city; her face regularly on the front page of local newspapers or her political posters and murals plastered across the city walls.
Known as ‘The King of Tango’, the infamous Tango singer, songwriter and actor of the early 1900s, is another face that Argentines (young and old) are understandably proud of and will show off at any opportunity, including a statue of the singer (as below) which sits outside Abasto market in Buenos Aires (where he grew up).
Apparently of French descent, Gardel (like Cortázar) moved to Argentina at a young age so locals have unsurprisingly claimed the singer as their own.
Jorge Luis Borges
A pioneer of the Latino literary scene, Jorge Luis Borges cannot be forgotten by locals and followers outside of Argentina, many of whom will have their heads buried in a book of his. Back in the day, the writer would have hung out in some of the famous Bar Notables, (including the now famous Cafe Tortini on Avenida de Mayo), so don’t be surprised to find his face (or even life size model!) looking down on you as you enjoy your cortado or glass of malbec.