INDUSTRIAL; Alma Laura, and her Unexplored Industry

By Petter Olsson

Alma Laura moved to London from Peru in 1968, and has painted ever since. She is 69 years old, and has never once publically exhibited her art – until now, when ‘From Lima to London’ is shown at Zakura Gallery April 6-12. Having completed a vast body of work, created outside of the ferocious pressure of the art world, her exhibition is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in art to experience something very unusual and exciting. Far from the well worn paths of more famous artists, far from the art that has already been dissected and interpreted by the experts of the art world; Laura’s exhibition invites the viewer into a world of art which until now has remained unexplored, but which stretches across three decades and the collected works of a lifetime of painting. A world of Laura’s unbelievable hidden industry, showing her remarkable commitment to making art for herself first, and for everyone else second.

Alma Laura
Alma Laura, Untitled

Born in Lima, Peru, she moved to London originally to participate in the revolutionary cultural movements that were erupting in the city. Only 19 at the time, she began painting as a way of connecting with the world through her expressions. What is unique about her painting is that it developed independently of the world around her – she painted out of creative necessity, not out of a desire to be recognized by the art world.

Alma Laura
Alma Laura, Woman on a Zebra Crossing Islington

In her paintings, she recreates memories in vivid and surreal depictions. Her friends and her family make frequent appearances, as do many different places that become enchanted through Laura’s depiction of them. Perceived through the opaque mist of her memories, the scenes take on a magical tint – viewing her paintings is much like travelling through her own personal mythology, each one imbued with the preciousness of memory and the spark of creativity.

Alma Laura, Highbury Fields
Alma Laura, Highbury Fields

Laura’s style draws heavily on her Peruvian heritage. It emerges in thick, confident brush strokes that mirror the confidence with which her visions are put on the canvas. The vibrant and vivacious colours speak of the richness of her memories, and her extraordinary capacity for expressing life in her paintings. Her art exists in a fascinating intersection between memory and culture; between Peru and London.

The result is a particularly compelling and idiosyncratic artist – one who has never been exhibited before. If you are interested in art and creativity, you will no doubt find in her exhibition a rich pool to draw inspiration from. The opportunity to view her work might not come again – and it is rare, in this day and age, to find an artist like Alma Laura.

‘From Lima to London’ will be exhibited at Zakura Gallery 6-12 April.

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