Packed with audacious geometric patterns, riotous colours, pom poms and the occasional llama, Peruvian textiles are one of the boldest and immediately recognisable forms of craft on the planet. Some Andean weaving techniques date back tens of thousands of years, and traditional designs featuring the natural landscape are imbued with mythology and age-old meaning. For his latest show in the warren of rooms underneath Somerset House’s famous fountain courtyard, Barcelona-born graffiti artist Sixe Paredes has created an homage to Peruvian art and culture with an immersive, tassel-filled exhibition inspired by and made in collaboration with artisans from Peru.
Beginning his graffiti career in the late 1980s, Sixe Paredes (aka Sergio Hidalgo Paredes) is known for his figurative, colourful artworks inspired by the natural world, pop culture and ancient symbols. In recent years he’s developed an interest in Andean art forms, and his psychedelic style and pictorial language is a natural fit for collaborative pieces such as the 25 large-scale works commissioned for his first UK solo show, which opens this week. Held in the institution’s Great Arch, Lightwells and Deadhouse and created with London-based art producers A(by)P, Futurismo Ancestral (21-26 May) will include tapestries, ceramics, masks, chichas (fluorescent hand-drawn concert posters) and the phenomenal quipus, a system of colourful knotted cords that the Incas used to record information. There’s an impressive live programme too, from puppet making and traditional dancing to food by Virgilio Martinez, the much-lauded chef from Michelin-starred restaurant LIMA.