Bolivian artist Kenia Almaraz Murillo exhibits at Boulakia Gallery in London

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Bolivian artist Kenia Almaraz Murillo exhibits at Boulakia Gallery in London
Niña del Volcán. Tissage en alpaga et laine locale acrylique, coton, bambous, tullmas, néon led et barres d'acier inoxydable, 127 cm x 126 cm. 2022 ©Robin Ansart.

LONDON.- From April 21st to May 10th 2022, the exhibition “Le Temps de l’Eclipse”, at 41 Dover Street, London, presents Kenia Almaraz Murillo’s weavings and sculptures. The exhibition “Le Temps de l’Eclipse” was born from the father-daughter collaboration between Daniel and Annabelle Cohen-Boulakia, who share in their desire to present Kenia Almaraz Murillo’s work in London. Discovered in 2018 by Annabelle, Kenia, a Bolivian artist who graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Paris, was exhibited in November 2019 at Galerie Boulakia for her first solo show “Tisser la Lumière du Temps”.

Born in 1994 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, Kenia arrived in Paris when she was only 11 years old. Upon graduating, she joined the artistic incubator “Poush Manifesto”, where her stu- dio is now located. “Le Temps de l’Eclipse” highlights the evolution of style, technique, and ins- piration of this young Bolivian artist. Kenia’s first weavings evoke her ancestral South American origins by integrating natural elements from Bolivia such as wool yarn, bamboo, or alpaca fibre. The use of these raw materials is reflective of her ethnic background. The artist is continuously inspired by mystical and totemic signs, which refer to primitive societies. The colours of her weavings echo the brightly coloured birds of paradise that inhabit the Amazonian forest. For example, in “Niña del Volcán”, Kenia refers to the Peruvian bird “Tunqui”, whose feathers and legs recall the yellow and purple weft of the wool. The artist also includes in this piece “Tull- mas”, traditional pompoms, worn during Oruro’s Carnival.

Her almost obsessive dedication to tracing Bolivian myths and origins serves as the primary source of inspiration behind her original artistic aesthetic. South American culture is the foun- ding pillar of Kenia Almaraz Murillo’s creation. Fascinated by the power of the stars, the artist tries to transcribe light into her weavings. First, she chose to use LED and plastic, allowing her to create a game of transparen- cy. More recently, the integration of neon in her weaving process saw a new challenge for Kenia, recalling both the power of her Andean origins as well as her bond to Western Culture.

Simultaneously, Kenia develops her sculptures, which lie close to the kinetic movement. She integrates different materials such as oak, neon, LED, and Plexiglas, in addition to traditional wool. A new way for the artist to explore the properties of light. In an exploration of silkscreen, the artist explores the properties of light in a new way, mixing paint with wool and alpaca threads, creating a visual illusion similar to that of an eclipse.

Since joining POUSH in September 2020, Kenia’s artistic style has continued to evolve. Her creativity is increasingly influenced by her urban Parisian backgroung. Kenia, although strong in her Bolivian origins, was largely raised in France. Unconsciously, her Western origins, long masked by the power of her South American roots, are now an integral part of her creation. The artist is increasingly concerned with the environment and object’s cyclical existence, such as car or motorbike headlights, which she reuses in her new works, like “Wawita”. The poly- chrome power of the headlights extends the initial work of light. The once vivid and natural colours of the weavings give way to vibrant and electric tones, which can be found in “Tarabuco”.

Her studio, located in a disused building in the suburbs of Paris, serves as a symbol of her hybrid cultural background. From her window, the Sacré Coeur overlooks the busy and noisy ring road. Inside her creative space, plants and fishes arranged by the artist, warm the coldness of the walls. In this urban jungle, an Aubusson loom dominates, where Kenia creates a dialogue between her an- cestral South American origins and the Western world. She is constantly seeking a balance between nature and the imprint of Man.

The rediscovered link between her Bolivian and Western origins is today the main axis of Kenia’s inspiration. She is at the same time filled by South American myths and legends that she constantly transmits in her works through personal and family elements (such as hair or traditional elements), but also with urban trends, which she explores through recycled objects. Car headlights now illu- minate as much as an astral myth in Kenia’s weavings. The urban becomes sacred.

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