Biography

Layqa Nuna Yawar migrated to the USA from Cuenca, Ecuador during one of the country’s most severe economic and political periods of instability in the late 1990’s. This experience framed the artist’s understanding of global migration as a necessity more than a privilege. His art developed from a combination of this fracture and a gained cross cultural identity developed in the USA. Through this experience, or because of it, visual art became his outlet and chosen language moving forward to higher education in New Jersey.

Having first received international attention as a street artist, his practice of illegal public interventions grew into one of painting large scale murals along an international circuit of mural festivals and projects that developed after 2010. His work now involves public art making in collaboration with, and reflective of, underrepresented communities of color. These projects are developed independently or in collaboration with students, non-for-profits, private entities, citizens and institutions. The level of commitment and engagement involved in this process extends to workshop education, curation, mentorship, public speaking and lectures for conferences and institutions like: El Museo del Barrio, The Newark Museum, Rutgers University, New Paltz SUNY, New York University and Rutgers University and as well as projects like Working Classroom in New Mexico, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education in New York, Creative Art Works in New York City, City Without Walls in Newark and Conect Arte in El Salvador. He is also a founding member, teaching artists and former curator of Young New Yorkers, an art based alternative to incarceration program starter in 2012 that serves underaged youth tried as adults by the criminal justice system in Brooklyn, NY.

Layqa Nuna Yawar has mentored youth for both NYFA and City Without Walls in Newark and has been granted participation in a Creative Capital Blending Learning Program offered by Aferro Gallery as well as being named an illustrious honorary citizen of Asuncion, Paraguay for his work during the 2016 Latido Americano festival. He has been recipient of residencies in Argentina, the USA and South Korea, including keyholder residencies at the Lower Eastside Printshop, the Newark Printshop, the Brodsky Center and Working Classroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work has been shown in various galleries nationally and internationally as well as art fairs and museum including the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ, El Museo del Barrio in New York, NY, and the Lancaster Museum in Lancaster, CA.

He works in a range of mediums, including studio painting, public murals, installation, project curation, sculpture, public art interventions and collaborative and experimental work, most recently by participating in the Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive Immigration Co/Lab. His work has been written about in The New York Times, The Star Ledger, The Huffington Post, NBC Latino, Fusion, Brooklyn Street Art and other publications, books and online. He has appeared on various tv and online news outlets in the USA and abroad such as Telemundo, Huffington Post Live and MTV, talking about his art and projects and issues of migration and cross-cultural identity.