Glossy colorful cats slow-dancing and indie girls with heart-shaped sunglasses: at first glance, the cute and innocent looking work of Shila Acosta might mislead you to underestimate the powerhouse that the woman is. She employs images and colors found in childhood dreams implies a desire to escape from reality, a retreat to something more pure and gentle than what is offered in everyday life. She masterfully conjures up new visions of surrealism and nostalgia while often implicating darker undertones. Her watercolor works, for instance, show contradiction brimming under the cutesy surface, such as her painting of a woman playing an accordion with human fingers for keys, or a woman with a cage for a body, or a naked woman sitting on a mushroom with a triangle and no stick to play it.

The painter and sculptor is part of two collectives, teaches art class, and is a graduate of Bellas Artes. Shila Acosta has spunk, and is plugged into the issues surrounding artists of the world today. She echoes the concerns of most emerging artists not only of Lima, but of the world. Despite never having seen her face, I was able to spot her as soon as she walked into the starbucks of Parque Kennedy on a rainy Friday afternoon. Her hair was curly and her smile big. She ordered a strawberry frappuccino and began anxiously explaining the collective she and her friends had built. As I flipped through the group’s pamphlet, it was clear the artists in the collective had been working for a long time, many of them together. Each page featuring a different artist exhibited artistic influences similar to each other, while each carving out a very distinct style. For an artist who does not consider herself overtly political, she has a lot to say about Foucault, Feminism, and Peruvian culture.

To read the full interview in Spanish, click here.

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