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We spoke to Peruvian Igor Siveroni to find out more about Peruvian experiences in London. Igor has organised several events in London to promote Peruvian culture including a Peruvian fair (Brightest Peru) and a photography exhibition. He has recently started Southern Exposure, an organisation promoting Peruvian culture in London.
Moving To London
I moved to London in October 2000. I had been interested in English culture since I was young. In particular, the Victorian era, eccentric London, English beer and British music. It seemed so far way from Peru but, after living seven years in the US, I was ready to move to London.
I like the mix of old and new [in London], how Victorian architecture sits next to modern buildings and how the old layout of the city is populated by buildings of different periods.
The cultural supply in London is endless: museums, theatre, fashion, film, exhibitions, concerts, etc. I find that London has the perfect mix of history and modern trends. Unlike other European cities that have become museums, London is alive.
Peruvian Culture in London
There’s only one Peruvian restaurant in London, Tito’s (the other restaurant, El Aguajal, closed in 2009). However, there’s a Peruvian food stall in Camden Market and two more at Regent’s Place Market on Triton square, plus the Partridge’s Food Market near the Saatchi Gallery – the last two are run by Peruvian caterers Panka.
The British Museum collection has a few Peruvian pieces from Inca and pre-Inca eras (unlike Mexico, Peru does not have a dedicated space). You can find them in the “Living and Dying” and “Enlightment” rooms on the ground floor. A few more pieces are on display in the “The Changing Museum” room (Inca Gold Llama, Paracas textile, Moche warrior pot).
Several young Peruvian artists live in London. Their work is often exhibited by The Peruvian Embassy‘s Portable Gallery and Civic Room. Currently the installation “The Followers” by Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca is on show at the Saatchi Gallery.
The Peruvian Community in London
Compared to other Latin American countries, the Peruvian community is relatively small (perhaps 6000 people?) The Anglo-Peruvian Society organises talks at the Peruvian Embassy, Canning House and the Instituto Cervantes.The cultural branch of the Peruvian Embassy organises exhibitions and cultural events at the Embassy.
Southern Exposure‘s new website will soon be live at www.southexp.org but until then you can find out about upcoming events on the Facebook page. Where else can you experience Peruvian culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.