“Eloísa Cartonera” , is a non-profitable, social and community-related artistic project settled in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The central office is a cardboard store – a place where cardboard and paper is sold – named “No hay cuchillo sin Rosas” (“There’s no knife without Roses”). There, cardboard collectors exchange ideas with artists and writers.
“Eloísa Cartonera” , is a non-profitable, social and community-related artistic project settled in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The central office is a cardboard store – a place where cardboard and paper is sold – named “No hay cuchillo sin Rosas” (“There’s no knife without Roses”). There, cardboard collectors exchange ideas with artists and writers. The cardboard collector is exclusively a South American phenomenon. (To understand the concept, they are unemployed people who are excluded from the labor and commercial system because they do not have educational resources or because they do not belong to a social class. That is why they pick up cardboard and paper around the city. The next step is to sell their collection. Then, most of the paper and cardboard is recycled and sold again. Often there are entire families working as cardboard collectors).
Eloísa Cartonera is in the search of inventing its own esthetic, more open-minded, trying to cause a reciprocal learning and stimulated by the creativity. One of the ways of achieving these ambitions was the creation of a special publishing house. Books with cardboard covers are edited there. The covers are made of the cardboard that has been collected in the streets. These books are painted by hand by the kids who leave the cardboard collection job when they start working in the project. Unknown, border and vanguard material of Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru is published. The premise of this publishing house is to make Latin American authors known. Cardboard is bought at $1.50 a kilo when the market price is $0.30. The kids have an income of $3 per hour (1 American Dollar) for carrying out these tasks. The project tends to generate more genuine manpower supported by the selling of books. There is no other way of financing this project.
None of the characters are alike and it is the same with the covers of the books. The covers are painted by hand, with temperas and paintbrush. This gives an artistic value to the work. EloÍsa has a catalogue of authors who are worldwide renowned: Previously unpublished literature (texts given by authors who support the project) of Ricardo Piglia, Cesar Aira, Gonzalo Milan (Chile), Luis Chavez (Costa Rica) and many others. The catalogue is Latin American: Basically, there are authors from Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In some cases, the texts are not unpublished material but material that was out of circulation a long time ago like some poetry books of the Chilean author Enrique Lihn. This project has also begun in Lima and Rio de Janeiro.
Contributed by Hernando Gómez Salinas