Fast forward to modern arts destination Lima

Few people visit Peru for contemporary culture. Most tourists head straight to Cusco and Machu Picchu, with just a stop-off in the capital, Lima.

But this year, style magazine Dazed and Confused described Lima as an “unexpected new art world star”. The city, and its food scene, which has been at the forefront of Peru’s cultural renaissance for a decade or so, continues to be praised globally.

I joined Nora Sugobono, a food writer for the newspaper El Commercial, at Isolina, an earthy yet modern restaurant in the Barranco district, which has been called the biggest opening of the year. It serves large bowls of classic Limeño home cooking and is part of a new wave of relaxed restaurants offering reasonably (relatively) priced but impeccably prepared food – mains cost R200. Another is Sibaris, opened two years ago, which also operates a food truck.

Chef Virgilio Martinez, who played an integral role in raising the profile of Peruvian cuisine, has just opened a casual restaurant, Nos, up the road from his chart-topping Central restaurant in upscale Miraflores.

“Gastronomy changed the whole city,” said Nora. “And that opened up opportunities for fashion, art and more.”


In recent years, the number of galleries, design shops and indie food joints in the Barranco and Miraflores districts has swelled, with boutique Hotel B capitalising on Barranco’s upwards swing and growing appetite for local artisan fare.

I found locals cramming into the gourmet gelateria BLU for an excellent ice cream, and nearby is the brewpub Barranco Beer Company that opened two years ago.


Customers enjoying a meal from a food truck. (AFP)

Developing a new audience for visual arts
The contemporary art fairs ArtLima and PArC are helping to develop a new audience for visual arts in the city, and Mario Testino’s museum, MATE, which opened in 2012, is another symbol of growing pride in Peru (and Lima), from one of its best-known creatives.

One homegrown artist now enjoying widespread popularity is “Peruvian Warhol” Cherman Kino Ganoza, whose pop art prints can be seen everywhere, including the boutique B&B Casa Nuestra, in Barranco. His Miraflores gallery and shop, La Kasa Roja, also has work by other local graphic artists. Hanging on walls in Lima, and painted on them too, is work by Elliot Tupac, a sign writer whose classic Chicha style has gained him international acclaim.

The city has a fledgling cycling scene: Lima Fixed Bikes, which is poised to open a new shop in Miraflores, runs thrice weekly rides around the city that anyone is welcome to join. They’ll lend you a bike if you need one.

A creative confidence
One evening, I headed for one of Lima’s leading underground club nights, CasaLoCasa, held that night in an old salsa house, a red and white painted colonial building in Barranco. Street style isn’t huge in the Peruvian capital, but here fashionable young people are queuing for entry – clothes lean towards black, and at least three people brighten the queue with neon-dyed hair.

Smoking outside was the night’s cofounder Herles Falconi – sporting green hair and green T-shirt under unbuttoned purple shirt – and his girlfriend, Elisa, who runs the arts space La Centralita. When it comes to nightlife, “in the past two years Lima has burst culturally”, he said, explaining how more and more events are now booking international DJs and producers. Vao Vao and Bulbo are among the nights to check out, and local duo Dengue Dengue Dengue, who combine tropical bass with performance and visual arts, now have a reach way beyond the city.

Elisa said creative confidence is causing a buzz in Lima: “Cultural manifestations that we have neglected before are getting more consideration now”, pointing to the appreciation of work by the likes of Chermen and Tupac, as well as wider attention from international media. “It was only a matter of time.”– © Guardian News & Media 2015

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Will Coldwell
Will Coldwell works from London. journalist✌️ [email protected], bylines far and wide Will Coldwell has over 3057 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

It’s our diplomatic duty to bring South Africans back home — Dirco

South Africans stuck abroad are told to be patient while the government is negotiating with different countries and working on ways to bring them back home

South Africans stuck in Peru lockdown told to ‘hang in there’

Two women who travelled to South America for a friend’s wedding were told by the South African government to wait until Peru’s state of emergency ends. Now they could be coming home

‘Christ of Theft’ statue poses dilemma for Peru

The 37-metre acrylic and concrete structure, which cost $800 000, is viewed by some as a symbol of corruption

Brazil sends troops after clashes at Venezuela border

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have crossed the border into Brazil over the past three years as they seek to escape the crisis in their country

Critics leap on goal-shy Socceroos

National broadcaster ABC said that "Australian football needs clarity, ambition, direction, rejuvenation".

Australia bow out as Peru claim World Cup consolation victory

Peru were already out before this game but they still had a huge travelling support, clad in the country's distinctive white and red colours
Advertising

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday