Today marked the long-awaited inauguration of three new Subte stations in the city of Buenos Aires, extending the E line from Bolívar, close to Plaza de Mayo, all the way to Retiro. All in all, the new stations will add close to 2 kilometers to the track and an estimated 63,000 new commuters each day.
But enough of all the infrastructure hoopla. The real news comes from the fact that every station has been intervened by three of the top female artists Argentina has to offer: Marta Minujín (Retiro), Gachi Hasper (Catalinas) and Marcela Cabutti (Correo Central). Not only that, but the decidedly feminine take on the project will also include the naming of the stations themselves, which will be voted on by users that can postulate any woman from Argentina’s rich history. According to the city government’s website, “bringing more women’s stories into symbolic spaces such as the urban nomenclature of the city is an important step in laying the foundations for a cultural change that consolidates gender equality.”
The three installations displayed reflect each of the three artist’s personality and prolific line of work:
- Marta Minujin’s contribution is a massive sculpture called David fragmentándose that hangs from the ceiling of the new Retiro station. According to the artist, it is meant to reflect the fragmentation and lack of continuity in Argentine people;
- Marcela Cabutti’s is a sort of climbing plant called Pasionarias a orillas del río, which is an homage to the plants often found growing near train tracks;
- Gachi Hasper’s work Rotación contains many of the geometric shapes that have become a staple of her previous works.
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As for the christening of the names of each new station, the process consists of three phases: first, the nomination of women’s names, which anyone can do by entering this link, keeping in mind that postulates must have died at least a decade ago; second, several committees formed by civil society organizations linked to gender issues, government officials, and neighbors will deliberate and ultimately decide a shortlist of nominees; and finally, users will be able to vote to choose for the women whose names will be forever linked to each station.
According to the City Government’s website, just 17 percent of current green spaces and only 10 percent of streets in Buenos Aires have a woman’s name, so this is a nice opportunity to continue to level the playing field and pay tribute to women systematically left out of history.