Argentine artist tackles inflation woes with a paint-by-numbers solution

High inflation has hit many countries hard in recent times. One country has had a particularly tough time: Argentina. With three decade high year-on-year inflation at 98.8% in January, up 6% from December, few countries have it that bad. 

High inflation has hit many countries hard in recent times.

One country has had a particularly tough time: Argentina. With three decade high year-on-year inflation at 98.8% in January, up 6% from December, few countries have it that bad. 

With high inflation has come higher food and beverage costs (6.6% MoM for Jan), housing and utilities (7.8%) and transportation (6.3%). Which has made cash not worth much at all in Argentina. 

It hasn’t helped that Argentina has also had a rapidly depreciating currency. In 10 years, the ARS (Argentinian peso) has dropped close to 100% against the USD. 1,000 Argentinian pesos currently buys you a measly USD $5. 

Cash is definitely not king in Argentina.

Rather than saving it for a rainy day, one Argentinian artist has decided on a rather unorthodox method for stretching the value of his hard-earned cash. 

Turning it into art. 

Local artist Sergio Guillermo Diaz has been painting on his bank notes and selling them as art in an attempt to increase their value.

“Nowadays it makes sense for me to paint on the largest denominated bill here in Argentina. Once I paint on it, I can sell it for much more than what the bill is worth,” he explains.

The themes of his paintings range from movie characters such as Harry Potter and Star Wars’, Darth Maul, to football star, Lionel Messi holding aloft the 2022 World Cup. There is even a political element based on his country’s inflation woes. 

A series of images featuring the peso’s sharp depreciation in recent years, while satirical, poses a stark reminder that, according to the latest report by the influential Social Debt Observatory of the UCA Catholic university, close to 40% of Argentina’s population now lives below the poverty line. 

 

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