Five Questions for… Artist Grimanesa Amorós

Celebrated Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amorós's career began at an early age when she developed a fascination for drawing maps. Now an avid traveler, Amorós takes inspiration from her discoveries around the globe and incorporates her varied expertise in psychology, history and critical theory into her interdisciplinary artwork. A Lima native, she often celebrates the cultural legacies of Peru in her creations, which range from large-scale site installations to sculpture and video design. Indagare spoke with Amorós about her favorite spots in her home city, as well as her upcoming travel plans.

Where are your favorite places to travel for inspiration?

My favorite place is a place I have never been before—somewhere that is waiting to be discovered. It is the romance of the unknown that intrigues me, and I enjoy discovering the unique landscapes and mystery of the places I visit.

What themes and elements do you draw from Peruvian culture in your artwork? When I was child living on the coast of Peru, I loved the beauty of the ocean. I was fascinated by everything from the tides and colors to the bubbles foaming on the beach.

I have traveled through much of Peru, but the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca is one of my favorite places in the world. The 42 floating islets are handmade entirely out of totora reeds (giant plant stalks), and visitors can interact with the locals as they work and go about their daily lives. The pre-Incan Uros still live on the floating islands, and they build everything (houses, boats, multi-story buildings) from reeds. This experience inspired me to create my Uros series and create Uros House and Uros Island.

Some years after visiting the Uros Islands I went to the northern Peruvian town of Huanchaco, which inspired another series. As I was walking along the beach of the small fishing town, I spotted some fishermen using totora reed boats to fish and surf the waves. These reeds were different than the ones on Lake Titicaca, but moved beautifully in the wind.

What are some of your favorite spots in your hometown of Lima?

I have many favorites restaurants in Peru—the cuisine is fresh, exciting and diverse—but each time I go home, the diverse produce stuns me. Because of its abundance of different climates, Peru offers a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Rafael always makes me feel at home; the chef is a master of Peruvian flavors and creates special, surprising dishes. I never look at the menu, I just trust them to bring me what is best! Central is another favorite thanks to its owner Virgilio Martínez Véliz, who makes patrons feel the research and development behind each of its plates. Every time I go I feel like I am at a culinary laboratory. La Huaca Pullana serves traditional Peruvian food from an al fresco terrace overlooking the Huacas ruins. I always go to La Canta Rana in Barranco, my favorite local cevicheria. La Bonbonnerie ( is another must-visit; it is owned by a dear friend and best caterer in Lima, Marisa Guilfo.

Watching the sun set at the Malecón in Miraflores is a fond memory from growing up. I adore visiting the Museo Larco Herrera, Gold Museum and the Colección Enrico Poli. During a visit years ago, Mr. Poli himself guided me through his extraordinary (and controversial) private collection of pre-Colombian and colonial silver pieces.

What art shows, installations and projects are you excited to see this summer?

I am going to San Sebastian and am looking forward to exploring the museums in the area, including Sala Kubo-Kutxa (, Tabakalera ( and Artium ( I first visited the Guggenheim Bilbao (pictured above) when it opened in 1997, and am excited to go back and see the exhibitions this summer.

Then I will be traveling to Alpilles in Provence to participate at the a-part Festival of Contemporary Art, where this year the theme is Lets Dance: Bodies in Movement. I will also be visiting the Arles Photography Festival.

In all your travels, what would you consider your most transformative travel moment? My trip to Iceland a few years ago was unforgettable. I saw the Northern Lights and the other wonders the country beholds. The moment I saw the sky light up in a rainbow of colors, I was transfixed and it is a memory I will never forget. I knew I wanted to share this feeling of experiencing the light with others, so I incorporated it into my work.

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