ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 127

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 |
Lima, Peru
by Patricia Olguin
Lima the Great… Heir to pre-Columbian cultures famous for their artistic works made from ceramics, metals and textiles
exhibiting enormous skill, which were later blended with artistic approaches imported during the period of colonization by
the Spaniards. One example may be seen in the architecture of Colonial Lima, mainly in the historic city center. There, we still
find great mansions, monasteries, buildings and churches that house the visual arts brought to us from Spain, and which
gradually underwent a process of fusion and mutation, giving way to a new religious art, a syncretism that continues to yield
up new interpretations even today.
This mixture of two great cultures — pre-Columbian and Spanish — was joined by others brought over during colonial times
and throughout the nineteenth century by African and Asian immigrants, creating a melting pot of customs, religions, aes-
thetic expressions, and cultural manifestations that began to blend together, creating a “mestizo” culture from the interac-
tions between the different individual races and cultures.
Nowadays, Peru’s capital is a city of nearly nine million inhabitants, looming over the desert on the shores of the Pacific
Ocean. Since the mid-20th century, Lima has received an influx of immigrants from other parts of Peru: the Andes, the
Amazon jungle, and residents of other coastal cities. Currently, only 60% of the families who live here (or maybe less) come
originally from Lima. This incredible variety of peoples has lent diverse colors, flavors, and customs to a culturally vibrant city,
one that is constantly changing and restless.
It could be said that Lima is a miniature version of Peru. It doesn’t take much effort to find elements of the coast, the high-
lands, and the jungle – demonstrating the nation’s richness, and above all, the mixture of these three geographical regions
and all that comes with them.
In the 21st century, Lima has experienced great economic growth, nourished by the Andean worldview, by the juxtaposition
of its religions, and by its age-old heritage, giving us a colorful “chicha” culture of urban iconography that speaks to us of its
high points, of its nostalgia for its roots, of its living, constantly changing mixture.
It offers us museums, cultural centers, and indoor and outdoor art galleries throughout the city, exhibiting a wide array of
expressions: sophisticated art, highbrow art, street art, pre-Columbian art. Simply: ART.
Among Lima’s districts, Barranco is well-known as the home of art studios and galleries. It is an old seaside resort area, the
hub of the city’s bohemian side, bursting with bars and restaurants lining charming streets that seem to obey no concept of
urban planning, ending on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the sea.
It would be fair to say that Barranco’s streets are a synthesis of unruly Lima: sometimes young, sometimes old; sometimes
enthusiastic, sometimes chaotic; sometimes poor, sometimes rich; sometimes provincial, sometimes cosmopolitan. In its lack
of order, it finds its own sense of logic, through which there is no doubt that we can feel “The Beat of the Road.”
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