National Living Statues Festival of Bahía Blanca: The Art of Stillness

National Living Statues Festival of Bahía Blanca: The Art of Stillness

How much can silence transmit? And stillness?

Is there communication between an immobile body and another that observes?

For more than seven consecutive years, in the city of Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, artists have arrived from different parts of the country and abroad to be part of the “National Living Statues’ Festival”.

This is an annual event that brings together living statues ­– generally in an outdoor space – and spectators, who are invited to move freely among the artists, without barriers or physical delimited spaces. The only rule that reigns is “respect”.

The art of the living statue begins with the creation of a character – who often tells a story – and it is materialized in the body of the artist. The body is the support of the character and it is completed with makeup, clothing, plastic creativity, special effects and accompanying objects. The statue comes to life through subtle movements. With these subtle movements the artist interacts with the public.

But not only subtle movements are responsible to give life to the character. The statue also comes to life through stillness and silence, and it is precisely there where the greatest connection with the viewer is generated. Forest dryads, fairies, explorers, pirates, classical Greek statues, soldiers, nature beings and a beautiful moon, are some of the characters who – from their silence and stillness – tell stories through their bodies as a medium.

Among the spectators are the smallest children are usually who fearlessly and shamelessly approach the statues – dedicated to exchanging smiles and giving innocent looks of surprise and happiness. But there are also adults who give themselves for an instant the possibility of connecting with the statues through a glance or a moment of shared silence.

Although the city of Bahía Blanca is small in size and population compared to Buenos Aires or other cities in the country with a great cultural movement such as Córdoba and Rosario, the local “National Living Statues’ Festival” could be at the height of the great festivals of living statues in the world such as the World Living Statues Festival (WLSF), in Arnhem, Holland or “Statues en Marche”, in Incourt, Belgium.