What is LARA? A Guide to Latin America Roaming Art – a Project by Asiaciti Trust

Latin American artists are taking the world by storm.

One organization that’s championed their work for years is LARA, the Latin America Roaming Art (LARA) project conceptualized and sponsored by Asiaciti Trust, LARA has the ambition and passion to make a real impact on Latin America’s burgeoning creative scene.

What Is LARA?

LARA “aims to initiate discourse, critical thinking and interaction with local and Latin American communities through the concept of creation through experience,” according to its website.

In practice, this means showcasing the incredible cultural and geographic diversity of Latin America through the work of some of the region’s most promising artists. LARA is a contemporary art project; previous participants have demonstrated a vast breadth of styles, performance and media, resulting in a diverse, impressive collection of works.

LARA is unique as one of Latin America’s few fully funded artist residency programs. Each year, eight artists are invited to a specific location within Latin America to live and immerse themselves in a unique experience. Artists can be assured all costs are covered by the program, including an artist fee for their time. They can focus on what they do best — creating art.

Another distinction of LARA is its commitment to introducing Latin American artists to other parts of the world. In particular, raising the profile of Latin American contemporary art in South East Asia, offering artists the opportunity to showcase their works in vibrant art communities, as yet not exposed to their works.

LARA Residencies

Every year, LARA invites eight aspiring Latin American artists to participate in a local residency. Each residency takes place in a different part of the region; the location is always chosen for its unique cultural, historical, and natural features. It’s impossible to separate each residency’s setting from its work product; as LARA’s organizers note, “[t]he location serves as the inspiration behind each artist’s work.”

Past LARA residencies have included:

  • Honda, Colombia: This residency was based in the quaint neighborhood of Altos del Rosario. Residents stayed in three unique houses: Casa Deuxsoleils, Casa Macías and Casa Senior. Museums and waterfalls abound in the surrounding hills. Among the most poignant local landmarks is the former site of the town of Armero, a once-bustling community erased in an instant by the eruption of the Ruiz volcano.
  • Ollantaytambo, Peru: This little valley town lies squarely in the historic Incan heartland, within a day’s journey of iconic sites like the old imperial capital of Cusco and the stunning mountain ruin of Macchu Picchu. It’s hard not to feel the presence of the mighty ancients in this sacred section of Peru.
  • Oaxaca, Mexico: This residency was based at the Centro de las Artes de San Agustín (CASA), a regionally renowned facility just outside the city of Oaxaca. The surrounding countryside’s biodiversity is legendary, and Oaxaco itself is among Mexico’s most culturally distinct regions. Inspiration is in the air here.
  • Galapagos, Ecuador: There’s quite literally nowhere like the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s most biodiverse places. This archipelago sits hundreds of miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Equatorial Pacific, well insulated from the ravages of modern life. Notably, this is where Charles Darwin devised the theory of evolution; LARA residents surely experienced similar heights of inspiration here.

Notable LARA Artists

LARA has hosted some truly remarkable artists over its six year existence. These include:

  • Maria Jose Arjona: This Bogota-born performance artist has devoted her career to the exploration of time. Her complex performance pieces often invoke parallel chronologies, weaving disparate events and geographies into grand, unifying narratives.
  • Adriana Bustos: This Argentinian mixed-media artist explores social and political themes through photography, video, and performance. She is no stranger to the residency circuit, with stints at prominent residencies on three continents.
  • Nicolas Paris: Another Colombian, Paris has an eclectic body of work that includes drawing series, mobiles, glasswork, paper “sculptures,” and other items. Prior to earning international recognition for his artwork, Paris was a teacher.

About Asiaciti Trust

Asiaciti Trust developed the LARA project, and fully funds the program in its entirety. Asiaciti Trust recognizes the importance of a vital Latin American art scene — and is committed to supporting the region’s most talented creatives in their work.

So, what is Asiaciti Trust? It is a privately owned trust and corporate services firm with more than 40 years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm has bases of operation in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Cook Islands, Dubai, Nevis, New Zealand, Panama and Samoa, maintaining a reputation as local business experts in the jurisdictions in which it operates.

Asiaciti Trust’s founder instilled five core principles for the company: think long term, build trust, add value, anticipate, and stay humble. Four decades on, the hundred-strong team remains true to that vision. Unlike conglomerate financial services providers that take a numbers-based, one-size-fits-all approach to client service, Asiaciti Trust has high staff-to-client ratios and remains relentlessly focused on white-glove, high-touch service.

Learn More About LARA

Interested to know more? Keep abreast of the latest details on upcoming LARA residencies via LARA’s website. For more details on the artists’ experiences, check out LARA’s media mentions and blog. If you’re keen to reach out to LARA, or want further information, drop them a line here.

Latin America’s art scene is making its presence felt on the world stage, and LARA is doing its part to move the conversation forward. From Mexico to Argentina and everywhere in between, there’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in the region’s creative industries.