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Until the end of September, visitors to the Royal Academy in Pall Mall can visit and enjoy an exhibition of art from South America. Only a few days later, there’s another opportunity to see work made by some more Latin American artists – but these ones live and work in West London. They are joining fifty other artists who are opening their doors to the public in the ArtWest Open Studios weekend, on October 3rd and 4th.
There’s Ivan (he prefers to be known by his first name only) who studied art in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia and his home city. In his early twenties he decided to see the world, and ended up in London. He’s been here since 1997, having fallen in love with what he calls a unique city. Ivan is a painter, who describes his style as contemporary surrealist. He believes Latin Americans bring a bit of spice to London. “They are noisy, more vicacious than their quieter northern hemisphere friends”, he says. Part of Ivan’s inspiration for his work comes from music: he plays the bongos when giving himself a break while working at his painting.
Renata Fernandez currently creates large-format drawings, she also paints and makes timber sculpture. She is from Caracas in Venezuela, where she studied art before arriving in London in 2003. She fell in love with England, and then with the capital, she says. Her drawings are a direct result of living here: she was entranced, for example, by the sight of trees in winter, naked against a white sky – something that just isn’t possible in her home country. She believes the troubled politics of South America lead to an open mindedness in people living there. “We have to be flexible”, she says, “as you just don’t know what will happen next!” In the run-up to the ArtWest Open Studio weekend, some of Renata’s work will be featured as part of London Design Week.
Renata met Soledad Bustos through ArtWest. Soledad is a painter, brought up in Buenos Aires, in Argentina. She came to London to study print-making (she still enjoys wood-cuts) in 1993 and stayed on, meeting her Dutch husband here. Her painting at the moment is very London-based, semi-abstract work inspired by London buildings. She is currently planning an exhibition on the theme of Home. She says it will explore “the dilemma of adapting to a new environment and remaining true to oneself”, something which she experienced in moving from one country to another. She feels that arriving into a new culture brings into focus the characteristics of the place one has come from – something that lots of people in London can relate to, whatever their nationality.
Renata Fernandez – Acava Studios
Ivan Benitez and Soledad Bustos – Acme Studios
Renata Fernandez - http://www.renatafernandez.com
Soledad Bustos - http://www.solebustos.com
Renata Fernandez (left) and Soledad