Home & Design
Jun 1, 2016
THE LIVING TREASURE OF PERU
Legends, rituals, stories, myths, symbols, totem animals, iconography of ancestral cultures, absorbed and represented in the form of contemporary visual arts. Tapestries, replenished by generous vivid colour palettes and mysterious plots and landscapes. Maximo Laura, the creator of these exuberant carpets, himself is a legend. His mission, recognized by UNESCO, is the one of an artist, preserving and enriching the culture of his motherland.
Maximo Laura, the unique textile artist, was born in Ayacucho, Peru. He is a consultant, designer and lecturer on art and contemporary Andean textile design. His work is the integration and synthesis of contemporary art with ancestral weaving techniques, symbols, memories, myths and rituals. His gift is hereditary – creating his outstanding pieces of art, he uses the legacy of five generations of weavers. As a child, he learned his craft watching and helping his father at work; his art kept on developing at the same time as both internal self-exploration and external exploration of the world, along with the study of world art history and literature for which he has been fascinated since he was young.
All over the World
Now, the artist lives and works in Lima, Peru. His works are deeply influenced by the legends and myths of such cultures as Chavin, which is expressive and totemic; Paracas which is colourful and strong; Nazca and Huari, for their geometric forms; Chancay for its sobriety and linear spirit; and many others. Combining those with the contemporary art techniques, the Peruvian weaver contributes to the promotion of the thousand-year traditional textile art of his nation at an international level, which has been his artistic mission for the last 30 years. Owners of Laura´s work include the World Bank in Washington D.C., United States of America (USA), the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, the Smithsonian´s National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Ibero-American Craft in Spain, the Museum of the Americas in Miami, USA, the Latvian National Museum of Art and the National Museum of Peruvian Culture, in Lima, Peru.
Since his first exhibition at the Cultural Centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1985, the work of Maximo Laura has been in over 140 exhibitions, in more than 29 countries (China, USA, France, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Australia, Cuba, Argentina, among others), with solo exhibitions at the most renowned museums of the world.
His work has earned many awards, including "National Living Human Treasure" of Peru by UNESCO, "Manos de Oro" («Golden Hands») of Peru, "National Amauta of Peruvian Craft", "Master of Ibero-American Craft" and the UNESCO Prize for Latin America.
How a Tapestry is Born
Tapestry-making requires a steady, slow and irreversible system presupposing minuscule and patient work of the artist, combining technical solutions with his intuitive vision.
The creation process can last from three weeks to many months, depending on the complexity and size of each piece. At the Maximo Laura Studio, the process begins with the creation of a line drawing of the final work by Maximo Laura on a small size sheet of paper. He will then paint this drawing, first manually and then with a computer.
After completion of the line drawing and the coloured image, the design is forwarded to the Colour Laboratory, where a specialist will hand-blend the colours to create what Mr. Laura calls "butterflies", hanks of yarn, for the future tapestry.
Each "butterfly" is created by hand-mixing single or multiple solid colour threads to match the required tones of a tapestry, creating the bright and vibrant colour combinations for which Maximo Laura is famous for. Due to this special process, on a small spot of a Maximo Laura's tapestry, one can find a variety of colours, making it very hard to find solid colours within the piece, and making the tapestry a real symphony of colours.
The small line drawing is then projected to the scale of the tapestry, and later transferred to the cotton warp threads on the loom, for guidance. Then, a weaver from Laura's workshop, personally taught by Laura, will undertake the weaving process. Row by row, the colours and textures emerge into images, under the careful supervision of Laura.
On its final and finishing stages, the tapestry will be cleaned, stretched, a Certificate of Authenticity will be stitched onto the back of the tapestry, and finally, it will be signed by Maximo Laura.