London-Based Ibero-Latino Artists Exhibit At Latin American House:

Unless they are already famous, it is not easy for Ibero-Latino painters, movie-makers, fashion-designers and sculptors to find somewhere in London where they can display their work. The Venezuelan Embassy’s Bolivar Hall is one important location which offers this opportunity. Another is the Latin American House in Kilburn. Founded in 1983,its objective is “to provide space and support for Latin Americans, Spanish and Portuguese speakers” living in the capital and especially in the immediate area and “to encourage greater understanding and co-operation between the UK’s Latin-American community and the British public. Ibero-Latinos in the capital tend to be concentrated mainly in Southwark, Lambeth, Islington and Harringey. However, as Latin American House officials have pointed out, there are also large numbers of Brazilians and Colombians living in the Borough of Brent and on the border with Camden. Due to proximity, they are the ones who most frequently use their services such as advice on Immigration, Housing, Welfare, Debt and Employment as well as enrolling for the free Computer and English courses. The Latin American House premises are leased on favourable terms from Camden Council. They receive an annual grant from the Association of London Councils (which campaigns on behalf of the thirty-three local authorities) and a lesser amount from UK Online. They further augment their income by hiring out some of their space – for example, on the ground floor at weekends to the “Barraca” Brazilian restaurant next door. Many of the staff work on a voluntary basis or are interns from Roehampton University who stay for around six months to do their practical training and to help with administration.

On Monday 30th November, Latin American House held the “Opening Night” of the final week of its Autumn Cultural Programme. The exhibition featured both amateur and professional Ibero-Latin American artists living in London. Among them were: Judith Rieletto (Mexico), who works with photographs, photo-transfers, prints and paintings; Anonimo Garcia (Spain), whose display of digital photographs included “London Before Midnight” (A view from Greenwich Park 2007) and “Ego & Alium” (Westminster Tube Station 2008);  Pilar Lahuerto (Mexico: In her programme notes, she emphasized her interest in social problems, especially poverty and her concerns that “our culture is disappearing”. There were three of her “oils on canvas” on show: (“Queretaro”, “La Purepecha” and “Pancho The Musician”); Stella Govier (Colombia): She has studied pottery, sculpture and painting in London over the past ten years. The most striking of her exhibits was a collage of a “finca”, the typical Colombian house, from the outskirts of Medellin and Bogota. She wants to keep it, so it’s definitely not for sale; Juan Jose Soria (Peru), whose favourite subjects are “photoshop and video editing”. Included in the eight digitally manipulated photographs he took on his last trip to his country in 2007 were “Colca Canyon”, Intihuantana” and “Machu Picchu”.

Ines Vicente (Portugal) is currently attending a Masters Degree in Fashion & the Environment at the London College of Fashion. Her project, “Clothopia”, offered “an alternative perspective of fashion consumption that promotes the sharing of clothes while stimulating attachment between wearer and garment”. At the beginning of the evening, the fifty or so guests watched “Still Standing”, a somewhat harrowing 30-minute film by Sheena Fumaria and Sean Patterson about gangs, drugs and the struggle for survival in the poor suburbs of Medellin, Colombia. The guitarist, Dinisar, provided a lighter touch afterwards with some lively Bossa Nova music.

Filed under: Immigration & Visas, Theatre & Film | Posted on December 10th, 2009 by Colin D Gordon

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