Sails & Art

Material courtesy of | Material cortesía de MERCEDES GUERRERO

Organized by Mercedes Guerrero, the first edition of Sails & Art, an event that combines art with sailing, took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between October 19 and December 14, 2019.

On the first date the sails were painted live at the Club Náutico Sudeste and on the second date the sails were exhibited sailing in front of the Puerto de Olivos, in what turned out to be an art exhibition on water.

The idea was inspired on Fine Art Sails, an international project that combines sailing with art, charity, and the 100 old keel boat, the Star.

Mercedes explains that racing and art are two of her passions, and it seemed like a good idea to combine them in an event that would discover new horizons by joining artists with yachting athletes. She spent a year looking for the artists and exploring the more suitable materials to paint on dacron sails, so that they could resist the wind and the sun, the hoisting and dropping, as well as the flapping. In the end they decided on diluted acrylics so that the paint would not crack and so it could be seen from afar.

“I spoke with friends from the International Star Class, which has an important fleet in the port of Olivos – in Buenos Aires. I know that like every racer of a monotype class, whenever one has some extra cash one buys new sails to win regattas, and the old ones are being relegated at the locker, and are only used to practice. I asked them if they could give up a few mainsails they didn’t use to be painted by artists and they readily accepted,” Mercedes tells us.

“I then began to summon artists to the challenge of capturing their art on a Star mainsail, a difficult canvas due both for its size and shape as for its texture. The size of the sail – an approximate triangle of 13 x 30 feet- plus the issue of considering both its sides since it is not an element that will be hung on a wall, and that it is translucent, plus the kinetics, were all themes to explore for the artists who dared to intervene in this project. Some decided to duplicate their design exactly on both sides and others were encouraged by the combination that could arise from the transparencies in the sails depending on the light.

After some discussions, we thought that it would be best for the event to take place in two stages: the first one, the painting of the sails by the artists and the second, the sailing with the painted mainsails. The time between one event and the next one would allow the artists to complete their work since the sails had to be painted on both sides, and this on a single day could not be achieved for one has to wait for the material to dry before one can paint it on the other side.

The event was organized with the invaluable support of the Sudeste Yacht Club, which has a huge and beautiful park on the river with lawns where the sails were painted. We had a large influx of people that day, who came to see the work of the artists.

The participating plastic artists who accepted the challenge were Pedro Roth, Pablo Betti, Luis Belgrano, Malena Clariá, Marta Borel, Jorgela Argañaraz, Ana Moller, Carolina Castilla, Flor Zak, Soledad Rivarola, Zeta Valenzuela and Hernán Álvarez Forn. There was also a sail painted by children from the Club Náutico Sudeste’s Junior Sailing Program. Coordinated by ceramist and art teacher Viviana Fernández Nicola, a week before the event the children sketched their ideas and then chose one design. Viviana shaped the chosen drawing on the sail so the kids would be able to paint it. Another sail that also functioned almost like a workshop was that of Male Clariá, who on the day of the event summoned her friends to help her in the painting process.

The result was magnificent, an art show in an outdoor gallery. It was exciting to see how these works of art, once hoisted on the boats, became kinetic art, floating in the water and with the sky as the perfect natural framework. It was something unique and unrepeatable, with the changing natural light, and the reflection of some of the sails on the water.”

Yachting Times thanks Mercedes Guerrero for her text and great photographs. On our website you can enjoy a couple of spectacular videos from the Sails & Art event.