Paola Torres Núñez del Prado is an artist of Peruvian origin working between Lima and Stockholm. She employs traditional Peruvian textiles and patterns that are intervened using technology. Her work examines notions linked with hermeneutics such as interpretation, translation, and misrepresentation. In the midst of a current state of “openness“ in the West towards non-Western art practices and aesthetics, we chat with Paola about her career as an artist, her work, and her position in the world.
C&AL: You have a long career as a practising artist, when did you decide to formalise your career as an artist?
PTN: I think for me the struggle wasn’t knowing what I wanted to be, but rather acknowledging what I was and coming into terms with it. I was six when I first sketched myself as a painter. As a child, drawing was the way of manifesting my thoughts; as a teen, art competitions were a way to prove myself; I think the break came when I moved to New York in 2003 to study: what this new school and this new city offered me contrasted a lot with my experience growing up in Lima.
I think formalising my career happened after I graduated. The extreme consumerist market “tainting” everything in NYC was overwhelming, so I returned to Perú, got a job editing video but I eventually left it and relocated to the south. I spent some years going through another personal conflict that involved a deep depression. It finally ended in the acceptance that, if I was going to be invested in whatever it was that I wanted to say, then I´d better find what was worth “talking about” beyond my individual experience. In that sense, I see art as inherently political.