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By Almudena Calatrava | Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Why build a rooftop water tank in the shape of a Teletubby? Or go to the effort of installing a replica of the Eiffel Tower atop a semi-abandoned building?

It’s often difficult to explain the proliferation of unusual artwork dotting the vast urban belt of some 11 million people outside Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires.

In this immense swath of tree-lined neighborhoods co-existing with areas of chaos — apparently built with little if any urban planning — many residents have erected grandiose, eyebrow-raising surprises.

The creators are usually construction workers or shop owners, although some artists are seeking to leave their signature in their neighborhood.

Pedro Flores defines the outskirts of Buenos Aires as a “post-apocalyptic paradise” close to the capital’s center. He and two friends run an Instagram account, “The Walking Conurban,” a play on the words “conurbano bonaerense,” as the roughly 40 municipalities are known in Spanish.

The page publishes images daily of these suburbs, often tinged with a bit of magical realism: a dinosaur on the dirt streets of a poor neighborhood; two Minions dolls greeting people from a home; a Statue of Liberty in the middle of a pasture.

Here are some of the works The Associated Press visited.

THE EIFFEL TOWER

On a rooftop at the corner of a street in the town of La Tablada stands a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Miguel Muñoz, 58, proudly explains how his father, a blacksmith, built it out of leftover iron with the guidance of brochures from the French embassy.

“He gave it to me on my birthday, that’s why I don’t sell it,” Muñoz said.

The tower is a symbol in the neighborhood. “I took it down once to paint it and the neighbors went crazy thinking someone had stolen it,” Muñoz said.

On the terrace of a two-story house stands a large water tank in the shape of a kettle, like ones used by Argentines to make tea-like infusions known as mate, in the Villa Raffo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

THE KETTLE

On the terrace of a two-story house stands a large water tank in the shape of a kettle, like the ones used by Argentines to make their beloved tea-like infusions known as mate. It was built in 1957 by Italian immigrant Victorio Smerilli and some relatives.

“They decided to do it as a replica of the ‘Victor’ kettle they sold in a store located downstairs in this same house,” said Gustavo Smerilli, the immigrant’s grandson.

Adriana Paoli runs an art workshop in the building and she is pushing a project to restore the kettle.

“If I say, ‘I have my workshop in the kettle,’ everyone knows the place,” she said.

STATUE OF LIBERTY

In the municipality of General Rodríguez, behind a humble house, a replica of a Statue of Liberty rises above a field where horses and cows graze.

The 15-meter- (49-foot-) high structure is a leftover from the “Liberty Motocross” circuit operated there years ago, the caretaker of the property, Pablo Sebastián, said.

GORILLA OF THE BOAT HOUSE

Sitting peacefully on a rock, next to a door of a boat-shaped house in the town of San Miguel, the gorilla Pepe drinks from a mate gourd. The creator of the house and the gorilla statue is sculptor and painter Héctor Duarte, who died in 2020.

Duarte’s family has received offers to buy the cement sculpture, but they refuse to sell.

BUSTS OF EVITA AND JUAN PERÓN

In the patio of the same house where Pepe the gorilla presides, Duarte’s busts of Juan Domingo Perón, three-time president of Argentina, and his wife, Eva María Duarte, can be seen embracing.
Duarte’s family lends the sculptures out for official ceremonies.

MONTE GRANDE WATER TANK

The enormous water tank in Monte Grande’s main plaza became a work of art in 2020 when, at the municipality’s request, artist Leandro García Pimentel painted a mural on it depicting fire, earth, air and water.

The water tank has become a meeting point and public ceremonies, and newlyweds pose in front of it for photos.

A dog walks past a sculpture of a dinosaur displayed in the front yard of bricklayer Daniel Niz, in the Sol de Oro neighborhood of Ezeiza, Argentina. Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

DINOSAUR

On a street in front of bricklayer Daniel Niz’s house, in the poor Sol de Oro neighborhood in Ezeiza, a dinosaur greets visitors.

“My son wanted a rubber (dinosaur) and it was expensive, so I decided to make this out of recycled things and materials,” Niz said.

He previously had the dinosaur on a patio inside his house but he decided to put it outside so people could take photos of the 1.2-ton structure.

HAND OF GOD WATER TANK

A water tank made to look like a large hand holding a soccer ball stands on the roof of a house in the La Cumbre neighborhood on the outskirts of La Plata, recalling the famous goal Diego Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup.

It was designed by a deceased mason who was well known to locals.

The Argentine version of Paris’ Arc de Triumph, which stands 36 feet high, features an embossment depicting comedian Carlitos Balá on one of its columns, in Ituzaingo, Argentina. Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

COLOSSEUM, TOWER OF PISA and ARCH OF TRIUMPH

Replicas of these European masterworks in the municipality of Ituzaingó were carried out by artist and architect Rubén Díaz, who is considered a “generator of fantasies.” Díaz’s goal is in part to let his neighbors “travel” to places they would normally never see.

The Colosseum, which is 200 square meters (2,153 square feet) and 8 meters (26 feet) high, recreates the Roman amphitheater.

The Argentine version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is 11 meters (36 feet) high and has the late comedian Carlitos Balá immortalized on one side.

Meanwhile, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located in the front garden of a private property. Díaz has proposed building the Great Wall of China in 2023.

HOMER’S GRILL

Homer Simpson, the father from the TV series “The Simpsons,” smiles and holds up his thumb from atop the aluminum roof of a restaurant in the town of Ciudadela. On the

A sculpture of Homer Simpson flashing a thumbs up and wearing a chef’s hat, stands on the top of an aluminum roof of the grill that bears the name of ‘The Simpsons’ protagonist, in Ciudadela, Argentina Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

front of the restaurant, which serves cuts of grilled meat, is the silhouette of Maradona running with a ball.

TELETUBBY WATER TANK

Po, the red Teletubby with the circular antenna, smiles as she surveys a long and busy highway. But Po isn’t just there for decoration — she is the lid of a building’s water tank in the town of Ciudadela.

Ignacio Castro, who rents the apartment just below the tank, said that when he was about to move in he found the head of the character of the famous children’s show in the kitchen. He gave it to his uncle but the owner of the building demanded it be returned.

FIGURES OF IMMIGRANTS

Also in Ciudadela, some 20 human-scale figures appear in a row in the entrance garden to the home of Antonio Ierace, an Italian immigrant who arrived in Argentina in 1949 and worked as a bricklayer.

As a hobby, he designed statues dedicated to migrants, including a man carrying two suitcases, and homages to workers such as hairdressers and blacksmiths.

HOUSE WITH THE TRANSFORMERS

In the town of Adrogué, gardener Juan Acosta cuts the grass in his yard where there are six robots that resemble Transformers from the 1980s U.S. television program. Passersby can see the Transformers from the sidewalk.

“Curious people take photos daily,” Acosta said of the robots made from recycled materials.

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Tags: mr roadshow opinion columnists cartoons pac 12 hotline celebrities art nation world weird news duarte’s family statue of liberty in the municipality in the municipality transformers a statue of liberty workshop neighborhood a sculpture in the town a sculpture homer simpson stands dinosaur he gave it the building in the front house in front take photos a street the gorilla

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England rugby coach Eddie Jones set to be SACKED after dismal run of form a year ahead of the World Cup

ENGLAND boss Eddie Jones looks set to get the bullet on Tuesday.

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick is in line to take over — about a year earlier than expected — if the RFU can lure him away from Welford Road.

1Eddie Jones is said to fear for his job and could depart on TuesdayCredit: PA

The union have not confirmed Jones’ exit, ahead of Tuesday's board meeting.

But despite fighting his corner, the Aussie looks doomed.

The Tigers have said they would not stand in Borthwick’s way if he chose to leave for England’s top job  but the RFU would need to shell out.

Borthwick is likely to want to take some of his assistants at Leicester with him, potentially defence coach Kevin Sinfield and performance guru Aled Walters, who helped the Springboks win the last World Cup.

Jones met with the panel reviewing England’s dismal recent results  yesterday and RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney will report to his board today.

READ MORE RUGBY NEWSGAT BACK Gatland re-appointed Wales boss with Pivac sacked just months before World Cup

The board is set to side with Sweeney whether he decides to back or sack his head coach with the World Cup just nine months away.

Jones was reportedly fearing for his future but was intent on coming out swinging in yesterday’s meeting.

Three of his assistant coaches, Richard Cockerill, Martin Gleeson and Matt Proudfoot, also met the RFU and their futures remain uncertain.

Union chiefs remain concerned about the churn of staff under Jones.

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Defence coach Anthony Seibold recently went back to rugby league and medic Richard Tingay left his post.

With Warren Gatland out of the frame after Wales fast-tracked his reappointment to their top job, the RFU have a race against time to fill their  hole if Jones exits.

England are due to have a training camp around New Year and face Scotland in their Six Nations opener on February 4, leaving a new man little time to bed in. 

But Gatland getting the Welsh gig again could have worked in Jones’ favour as the RFU would have to cut through some red tape to get Borthwick.

And it will cost the cash-strapped union if he got the bullet 11 months before his contract expires, with Jones expected to trouser around £700,000.

Kiwi Scott Robertson, who was recently in England to coach the Barbarians, is thought to have been contacted by the RFU.

Robertson is contracted to  Super Rugby outfit Crusaders and they would need paying off if Twickenham came calling.

Jones conjured a Grand Slam in 2016 after taking over following the 2015 World Cup fiasco and led England to the last global final.

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On the way to a showpiece with South Africa they destroyed New Zealand in the semi-final, in England’s best performance since 2003.

He also won two series in  Australia and three Six Nations titles.

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