When: On until 26th May 2014
Where: Great Arch, Lightwells and Deadhouse, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
What is it?
Graffiti artist Sixe Paredes has taken over the lower levels of Somerset House with an exhibition inspired by the indigenous art and culture of Peru and the Andes. Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru is an exhibition featuring colourful tapestries, totems, ceramics, masks, quipus and chicas carteles made by Sixe Paredes in collaboration with the creative community of Peru and the Andes.
Blending tradition and modernity, Sixe’s approach is full of bright, bold bursts of colour and geometric patterns which depict the primordial – whether animal life, adolescents or ancestors – but all in his signature Surrealist style, much like the street art for which Sixe is famed. Influenced and inspired by folk art and art brut but reinterpreting it for a modern generation, Sixe has termed this approach as ‘futurismo ancestral’ (or ‘ancestral futurism’).
Working on all the senses, Futurismo Ancestral is an all-encompassing exhibition experience hosted in the hidden streets and spaces underneath Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard. The bowels of the building are awash with vibrant and vivid colours, a spectacle set against the classic Portland stone work. The narrow nooks and crannies of the Lightwells, which have played the part of prisons, streets and chase scenes in Hollywood blockbusters, lead to the Deadhouse, so-called because it holds historic gravestones. Set into the walls, they detail the life and death of court staff and were relocated from the Catholic chapel of the Royal Palace which used to stand on the Somerset House site.
The exhibition itself represents the richness of the Peruvian and Andean art world, while a lively line-up of daily events captures the soul and spirit of contemporary Peruvian and Andean culture, from food and film, to music and dance.
There will be events for all ages over the Bank Holiday weekend, including a free family puppet workshop on Saturday 24th May. Formally-trained mime artist and puppeteer José Navarro will present a practical puppet workshop. Using glove and string puppets, the hands on learning will lead to a small showcase of the Scissors Dance, a traditional Peruvian performance piece included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Throughout the weekend, Navarro will also be performing puppet shows based on ancient Andean gods and rituals.
A look at Peruvian cinema will be provided by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, who will handpick feature films that have put Peru on the cinematic map on Sunday 25th May. On Monday 26th April, The Royal Holloway Andean Band, the only one of its type in the UK, will be playing its fusion of Andean music live with panpipes, flutes, drums and guitars all in the mix. Baila Peru, the largest and longest-running Peruvian dance group in the UK, will follow with demonstrations of ancient Inca dances to exotic and colourful carnival dances. The day will finish with a Perudo party. Perudo is a popular dice game played in Andean communities and other Latin American countries, and has a number of famous fans including Stephen Fry who said the game is “the second most addictive thing ever to come out of South America.” Perudo tables will be set up throughout the exhibition space with expert tutors on hand to help.
More info: www.somersethouse.org.uk