May 27, 2007

Pop Art capital of South America

At 12,000 Feet, Andean Culture Meets Pop ArtA generation ago, fiestas like Ch'uta drew considerable attention from a group of young artists in La Paz. Partly inspired by the New York-based Pop Art movement, this circle began producing works filled with playful references to Aymara Indian culture: the festival masks, costumes and brightly colored fabrics that stand out sharply amid the washed-out landscapes of the altiplano. But while the Pop Art scene in New York was soon supplanted by other creative waves, it has never really disappeared from La Paz. And now the unique aesthetics of this city and the surrounding region have begun inspiring not just local artists, but also fashion designers and painters from the rest of South America and beyond.

Noted painters from the United States and Europe have come to La Paz to soak up the city's Andean atmosphere. The British designer John Galliano recently created a line based on the clothing of the Indian tribes of Bolivia and Peru, and last year the Buenos Aires fashion company Tramando introduced tops and skirts inspired by the “warmth, festivities and myths [and] rich chromatic nuances” of altiplano culture. Trixie d'Epanoux, a partner in Tramando, recently referred to La Paz as the Pop Art capital of South America.

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