By Glyn T. Davies
Sports are a powerful way to bring people together. Witness the World Cup, Olympics, Wimbledon, or any international sporting event. Depict the drama of sport in stunning, monumental art, place it in a diplomatic setting, and the result is high-impact cultural diplomacy. That is precisely what U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc R. Stanley unveiled to the Argentine press, public, and sports notables, Nov. 15, 2022, on the grounds of the historic Palacio Bosch—a century-old landmark that has been home to U.S. ambassadors to Argentina for more than 90 years.
The monumental murals surrounding the residence tennis court were painted in bold colors and realistic detail by renowned Argentine artist Martin Ron. They feature action shots of Serena Williams, as well as Argentine tennis stars Gabriella Sabatini and Diego Schwartzman, both of whom attended the event along with Argentine sports officials and a strong contingent of reporters. Commissioned by Stanley and his wife Wendy, an avid tennis player, the murals symbolize friendship between the two countries and are a “vivid example of the importance of empowering young girls,” according to the ambassador.
The murals are a reminder that diplomatic patrimony consists of more than historic buildings and heritage art and objects. New cultural heritage is created every year. In addition to the inspiration and generosity of the Stanleys and the hard work of colleagues at Embassy Buenos Aires, the project’s realization was supported by Overseas Buildings Operations’ Office of Cultural Heritage, working with its private sector partner, The Fund to Conserve U.S. Diplomatic Treasures Abroad. Early next year, experts from the Office of Cultural Heritage will be installing new artwork throughout Embassy Buenos Aires that has been donated by the Foundation for Art & Preservation in Embassies.
In a press release, Ambassador Stanley described the mural as a “symbol of the enduring friendship between the United States and Argentina” and a vivid example of the importance of empowering young girls “so they know they can grow up to become strong sports icons who are making a difference around the world.”
Ambassador Glyn T. Davies is the senior program advisor to the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations’ Office of Cultural Heritage.