An afternoon with a living legend: 
Textile artist Maximo Laura invites us for a tour around his studio in lima.

by Karen Darricades for Peru this Week Magazine

 

I first became familiar with the brilliant work of Maestro Maximo Laura in 2012 when his work was on exhibit in Canada, during The World of Threads festival, an international exhibition of contemporary fiber art I was also a part of. His works were so engrossing that I got lost in them and was actually 45 minutes late to my own opening. For the artist from Ayacucho and now termed a National Treasure of Peru, "work is nourished by symbols, stories, traditions, rituals, experiences, and by permanently returning to admire the iconography of ancestral world cultures, especially Peruvian cultures," as expressed in his biography and apparent in his woven images.

While in his gracious presence at his home in Lima, Peru, he gave me a tour of his office, home, studio and gallery as well as his artistic process. We looked at the works he had hanging in his own home, reflecting Ayahuasca visions and, as he so eloquently puts it, "magical realism". His works have the storytelling complexity and humor of Hieronymus Bosch but with a more lighthearted sensibility. It is no wonder his work has appeared in every corner of the globe.

From there we dove back into the inner-workings of his practice, walking through the many levels of his studio space. Roorns filled with yarn being spun, dyed and categorized by color and proudly shared by the many people that make up the Maximo village of artist assistants. Then onto the rooms of these same team members and mentees working on the looms guided by Maximo's design templates, their skilled hands bringing these creatiqns to life.

Lastly his assistant walked me over to a neighboring gallery space to enjoy more works after which our tour, sadly, had come to an end in his beautiful office. There, his library of art books gave more insight into the things that inspire his image-making practice. Even his office furniture is inspired by the same symbols as portrayed in his art (his entertainment station/ book shelf being in the shape of a chacana, or Inca Cross).

I arrived that day a fan and left in awe of the extensive workmanship and organization it takes to realize his visions and was blown away by his humble and generous nature as an artist.

 

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