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Statue in San Telmo

If you find yourself wandering through the cobblestone streets of San Telmo asking random Argentines where you can find Mafalda, chances are they’re going to be a little confused. Not because they don’t know who Mafalda is (everyone seems to know that), but because they aren’t sure why you want to find her. However, you won’t be the first to have asked.

Mafalda is one of the beloved characters of Argentine artist and cartoonist, Joaquín Salvador Lavado (also known as “Quino”). The comic strip ran between 1964 and 1973 and was popular across Latin America, Europe and Asia. At the time the comic was created, Mafalda was six years old. Despite her age, she was deeply concerned about humanity and social justice.

A statue of Mafalda, installed in 2009, sits permanently on a stark white bench at the corner of Chile and Defensa, beneath the home where both she and her creator once lived. Less than a meter (2 ft) tall, with a soft smile, avocado-green dress and matching bow in her hair, Mafalda is captured in a permanent state of reflection.

Considered a little rebel, Mafalda challenged the status quo and enjoyed discussing politics and current events. She symbolizes the spirit of many young Argentines who aren’t afraid to question the world around them.

In 1965, Mafalda began appearing daily in the Argentine newspaper, El Mundo. When it shut down in 1967, her character was passed off to the magazine Siete Días Ilustrados until 1973, when she stopped appearing in publications. Two animated cartoon series and a movie followed.

Forever the curious child, Mafalda now sits appropriately facing an ice cream shop, almost as if she is inviting you to buy her a treat, and then sit beside her on the bench to discuss the surrounding world.

Further Information

Travel tips:

Mafalda is simply a statue of a girl on a bench. There are a couple souvenir shops around her, as well as an heladeria, but otherwise, there isn´t really much to see.

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28 May 2010

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