Maximo Laura: Eternal Vision
21st July 2017 – 27th August 2017
Toi Gallery, Pātaka Art + Museum, Porirua City
When Pātaka’s curatorial team was approached by local stalwarts of Creative Fibre New Zealand last year, proposing we present an exhibition of hand-woven tapestries by Peruvian master weaver, Maximo Laura, we didn’t really know what to expect. None of us had any personal experience in studying or fabricating contemporary textiles but, the immense enthusiasm and admiration our local weavers had for Maximo Laura’s artworks encouraged us to find out more and we soon discovered what all the fuss was about.
Maximo Laura is an international mega-star of contemporary textile art, named one of Peru’s “living treasures” for his innovative tapestries that incorporate ancient Peruvian weaving techniques with contemporary textile design. When you see these extraordinary artworks ‘in the flesh,’ you can certainly see why. The textures he achieves by building up and overlaying various weaving techniques that I could not attempt to explain, give his tapestries the look of carved bas relief sculptures. But what makes them so visually stunning when you’re first confronted by them in the gallery is the extraordinary vibrancy of their colours.
Laura is a fifth generation weaver who learned his craft as a child at his father’s side while growing up in Ayacucho. He acknowledges that his tapestry practice continues to be inspired by Peru’s ancient textile tradition but it’s the infusion of Laura’s uniquely blended colours that makes his works so exceptional. “My work is nourished by symbols, stories, traditions,” he explains. “For me a colourless design is like a body without soul. It is through colour that all the elements gain energy, life, intention and real value.”
Although his tapestries have featured in more than 140 exhibitions in 28 countries and earned many awards, Laura’s Eternal Vision exhibition of 16 tapestries in Pātaka’s TOI Gallery, from 21 July to 27 August, was the first time his works have been seen in New Zealand. Needless to say, the exhibition attracted thousands of visitors from around the country, making it one of the most popular exhibitions to have been presented at Pātaka Art + Museum in our 19 year history.
Pātaka’s curators have a long, mutually beneficial relationship working with Creative Fibre New Zealand to present high quality exhibitions of textile and fibre art in our galleries, but Maximo Laura’s Eternal Vision was successful beyond expectations.
We at Pātaka are grateful to Creative Fibre New Zealand for bringing Maximo Laura and his wonderful tapestries to New Zealand for us to share with so many visitors. We would relish the opportunity to exhibit more of Laura’s artworks in the future.
There’s no doubt they would continue to be an amazingly popular attraction.
Contemporary Art Curator
Pataka Art + Museum