Complementing the flavors of its South and Central American cuisine, the art and decor is also rich and colorful, at Aji and includes paintings, sculptures and relics from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela.
We’re currently displaying a collection of museum quality pre-Colombian Peruvian art from the Incan Empire on loan from Artemis Gallery in Boulder. You can see these pieces on display around the restaurant.
Permanent installations include paintings from famous modern-day Venezuelan artist, Beatriz Gomez. Ms Gomez is known for blending traditional themes with a contemporary style, as she has done in the large painting in the dining room, “Girl with Pots.” She is also internationally known for her renditions of “Lady of Guadalupe,” and the striking example at Aji Restaurant was commissioned by its owners, specifically for this restaurant. www.beatrizgomez.com
Ms Gomez also painted the mural behind the bar, using inspiration from the hand-carved gourd motifs prevalent in South America. The pastoral scene shows many of the typical styles of South American art and carving. Further examples are found on a number of decorative gourds throughout the restaurant.
Other paintings include work by the young Peruvian artist Tadea Zavaleta de la Barra, with the iconic painting “Noche de Suenos” (“Night of Dreams”.) A fisherwoman dances in the moonlight, and the scene is set for magic, with candles burning on the seashore, and an offering of glistening fish.
The work of Demetrio Saldana, who studied are at the Superior School of Fine Arts in Peru, can be seen in the work titled “Motherhood”. This warm painting offers a wonderful example of the the way Saldana mixes colors, and achieves harmony within a plane. Saldana has exhibited work widely throughout Peru, Canada, Europe, Russia, and USA.
A duo of ceramic Mexican masks are titled “Warrior Twins”, and sculpted by Ismael Diaz. This singular example of wall art represents two proud warriors, their faces marked by scars of battle. Diaz creates textured surfaces with primitive appeal, suspended from a pinewood frame.
The Andean masks found throughout Aji Restaurant were created by Bertha Herrera from Lima, Peru, and were inspired by pre-Hispanic art with iconography from a number of Andean cultures.
Finally, a number of traditional handicrafts from the Andes region can be found throughout the restaurant, such as handmade, woven wool tapestries exemplifying the traditional textile patterns and styles of the mountainous region; small Jimenez masks, which are set in a stylized display to scare away negative spirits and energy; Chancay dolls, which were buried with children in the days of the Inca, and now adorn modern, metal wall hangings; and in the lounge area, hand-tooled, leather tables with traditional pre-Incan design motifs, which were created by Peruvian artist Abel Rios.