Maximo Laura is a 5th generation tapestry weaver born into a family in Ayacucho, Peru that was deeply engaged in the textile traditions of the pre-Columbian Wari Culture. In Ayacucho, weaving is a way of transferring information from one generation to the next, thereby keeping cultural myths, symbols and stories alive.
Maximo Laura on the Loom
As a young man in the 1980s, Laura left his small rural town of Ayacucho, for Lima, the capital of Peru, with the intention of studying literature at university. Because of the economic and political instability of the country at that time, Laura turned to weaving as a means of supporting himself and his studies. With time, he recognized that weaving was his true passion, to which he would dedicate his life. In this context, an artist launching his or herself was difficult, and Laura began his practice in a tapestry studio made of four walls without a roof.
Year after year Laura´s tapestries received recognition internationally for their originality in technique, content and quality. A major turning point was in 1992, when he was awarded a UNESCO Prize for the whole of Latin America.
As Maximo Laura started traveling abroad entering competitions and exhibiting his art, his visual and conceptual world expanded as he came into stimulating contact with his peers – other contemporary artists and art movements – vastly different and inspiring architecture and ancient art from other cultures, energized by their accomplishments which had an impact on his own.
This period of intense exploration allowed him to express his own contemporary views and aesthetics with a symbiosis of what is traditionally Peruvian, blurring the line between traditional craft and modern art.
Today, Laura´s tapestries have been exhibited in more than 29 countries and are known throughout the world for their vibrant colourways, textures and themes. They have won awards in Textile Art Biennials and Triennials; in China, the U.S.A., Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Ukraine, among others.
Maximo Laura receiving an award at the 13th International Triennale of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland
Laura Receiving an Award at the Beijing International Fiber Art Biennale, China
Maximo Laura in Belgium
In 2011 Maximo Laura was awarded the title of “Living Human Treasure” of Peru. According to the UNESCO guidelines, this honour is given only to an artist whose role has been and continues to be to preserve and elevate the culture of their homeland. From the time Laura was a very young man, he has always done this by sharing his knowledge with children in isolated communities in the Andes, with visitors from abroad, through workshops and conferences and through many other means. And at home in Lima, Laura´s studio now has 5 floors with many individuals, (including numerous family members) working with him.
Laura receiving the award of “Living Human Treasure” of Peru