Lika Mutal

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Lika Mutal
Datos generales
Nombre Lia Rosalia Anna María Vermeulen
Fecha de nacimiento 12 de septiembre de 1939
Nacionalidad Holandesa
Seudónimo Lika Mutal
Ocupación Artista
Formación profesional Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Los Andes
País de nacimiento Holanda
Fecha de fallecimiento 07 de noviembre de 2016
País de fallecimiento Perú
Ciudad de fallecimiento Lima

Lika Mutal, born Lia Rosalia Anna Maria Vermeulen, was a Dutch artist based in Peru. Known for her stone works that evoke a spiritual and social sense, she reinterpreted the importance of carved works and monoliths as a unique artistic language that allowed her to connect with nature, landscapes, and the environment. Classified as one of the precursors of stone art in Peru, her style and visual concepts consider the lithic works of the pre-Hispanic and ancestral cultures in America.


Lika Mutal was born in the Netherlands on September 12, 1939. Her parents were in the artistic field, her mother as a pianist and her father was a painter, which produced in Lika an early interest in this field. Years later, she attended Bonifacius College in Utrecht, the Netherlands and during her adolescence performed in various theaters in her native country following her initial urge to become an actor. She later studied art and drama in Amsterdam and Utrecht. In 1962, she married Silvio Mutal, who was working as a heritage researcher, and the couple traveled to Colombia in 1964. In Colombia, she dedicated herself to puppet theater, which she developed as a possibility for expression given her limited knowledge of Spanish at the time.[1] She studied at the School of Fine Arts at the Universidad de Los Andes and worked at the workshop of Colombian artist David Manzur. She died in Lima on November 7, 2016, at the age of 77.

Artistic career

In 1968, after spending approximately four years in Colombia, Lika Mutal and her family traveled to Peru and settled in Lima. There she studied at the School of Art at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú where she met Anna Maccagno, an artist and professor. At the school she learned how to use diverse sculptural materials such as clay, wood, and steel. She also studied artistic techniques such as drawing and painting. Some time later she met Juan Arias, a local stone sculptor whom Anna Maccagno hired to teach sculpture techniques at the school. From that moment on, the artist decided to dedicate her work exclusively to stone, a difficult element to work with that posed a challenge for her.

From her contact with the local carver, Lika Mutal altered the perspective of her work and began to focus on the importance of stone as storyteller, which allowed her to understand that this material has a constant life.[2] The artist then made a series of works that she called Quipus. For this project, she used materials such as travertine and arranged the work in the form of rings or circles and lines. Later, Juan Arias took the artist to quarries to become familiar with black granite, another material for her works and which again presented an artistic challenge.

During the nineteen seventies, she exhibited her works individually in numerous galleries such as Carlos Rodriguez in Lima in 1972, D'Eendt in Amsterdam in 1974, Daniel Gervis Gallery in Paris in 1976, and the Nouvelles Images Gallery in The Hague in 1978. This stage was decisive in her being recognized internationally for her sculptural handling of stone. In this decade she also participated in group shows organized by the Banco Continental gallery in Lima and at FIAC with Daniel Gervis Gallery in the Grand Palais in Paris.

In the early nineteen eighties she was part of 3000 años de escultura peruana (3000 Years of Peruvian Sculpture), an exhibition organized by the Lima Art Museum. In 1982 and 1984, she participated in the I and II European Sculpture Biennial in Normandy, France. In 1985, the Nohra Haime Gallery in New York began to present numerous exhibitions by the artist and became her principal representation. A year later, in 1986, the artist settled in New York, developing her work simultaneously in the American metropolis and the Peruvian capital. In 1989, she participated in the exhibition The Art of Peru organized by Galerie D'Art Contemporain of Montreal, Canada.

In the early nineteen nineties, Lika Mutal received two awards in Japan during the Fujisankei Biennale, the first being Excellent Maquette, awarded in 1992, and the second being Ueno Royal Museum Prize in 1994.[3] During this stage of her career and much of the noughties, the artist's work became more social and to some extent political. From 2003 to 2007, she exhibited at Galería Lucía de la Puente in the Peruvian capital. In 2015, she presented her exhibition El espejo de piedra (The Stone Mirror) at the Lima Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC).

Characteristics of her work

The work of the Dutch sculptor is notable for the use of materials such as wood, marble, granite, diorite, terracotta, and steel. From her beginnings in art, when she settled in Peru in the late sixties, the artist began to develop a novel view of materiality. Similarly, her principal inspiration came from the carver Juan Arias, from whom she learned the importance of listening to the stones in a spiritual, energetic, and metaphorical sense. Similarly, the lithic components needed to be alive, and so Lika Mutal never considered them to be static.

Her work deals mainly with the multifaceted question of stone, its hidden sides and its relationship with the environment and the territory. On numerous trips across Peru during which she visited deserts, coasts, and mountains, the artist sought the origins of the material in deposits, quarries, or workshops. She also collected experiences and personal moments that allowed her to develop an inner gaze of materiality. Some of her works are accompanied with quartz as an offering, [4]which establishes a very spiritual and symbolic relationship with stone. This same perspective recalls the ancestral background of pre-Hispanic Peruvian cultures such as the Inca, who also approached stone with skill and a sensibility of sacredness.

Lika Mutal gave the numerous compilations of her works generic, metaphorical names. Projects such as Quipus use the name of the Inca accounting system quipu, which the artist took as a central axis with its derivations resembling this indigenous technology[5]. Another group was baptized Laberintos (Labyrinths), which recreates passages and corridors derived from stone. Libros (Books) resemble rectangular pieces of stone attached to an arch. On the other hand, a sense of social critique is also present in the artist's work. Her sculpture and memorial proposal El ojo que llora (The Weeping Eye) includes the names of nearly 27,000 victims of the Peruvian conflict that took place between 1980 and 2000, inscribed in stone. This work is located in Campo de Marte in Lima and was inaugurated in 2005. Lika Mutal's humanistic inclinations were brought out in this sculpture, her thought for the victims and their families, without assuming an extremist position.

Featured works

  • 1979: Morada (Abode)
  • 1986: Opening Granite
  • 1990: Alpha
  • 1992: Labyrinth in Situ
  • 2000: Stone Tide
  • 2005: El ojo que llora (The Weeping Eye)
  • 2010: Kuntur Rumi : Kuntur Rumi (Condor’s Stone)
  • 2013-2015: Piedra de Luna Plata (Silver Moon Stone)
    • Piedra Lagartija (Lizard Stone)
  • 2014: Illapa

Works by Lika Mutal in the Banco de la República Collecitons

Works by Lika Mutal in the Banco de la República Collecitons
Title Year Location Technique Registration number
De la tierra al mundo (From the Earth to the World) 1998 Reserve Sculpture AP4251


  • 1939: Born in the Netherlands.
  • 1962: Married Silvio Mutal.
  • 1964: Arrived in Colombia.
  • 1968: Settled in Lima, Peru.
  • 1972: Exhibited at Carlos Rodríguez Gallery, Lima.
  • 1974: Exhibited at D’Eendt Gallery, Ámsterdam.
  • Participated in the Exhibition of the School of Visual Arts, Banco Continental Gallery, Lima.
  • 1976: Exhibited at Daniel Gervis Gallery, Paris.
  • Participated for the first time as part of a group in FIAC at Grand Palais, Paris.
  • 1978: Exhibited at Galerie Nouvelles, The Hague.
  • 1899: Participated in the exhibition 3000 años de escultura peruana (3000 Years of Peruvian Sculpture) at the Lima Art Museum.
  • 1982: Participated for the first time in the European Sculpture Biennial in Normandy, France.
  • 1985: First solo exhibition at Nohra Haime Gallery, New York.
  • 1986: Settled in New York.
  • 1989: Participated in the exhibition The Art of Peru at Galerie D'Art Contemporain, Montreal.
  • 1992: Received the Excellent Maquette Award at Fujisankei Biennale, Japan.
  • 1994: Received the Ueno Royal Museum Prize at Fujisankei Biennale, Japan.
  • 2005: Inaugurated her work El ojo que llora (The Weeping Eye) as a tribute to the victims of the internal armed conflict in Peru.
  • 2015: Presented the exhibition El espejo de piedra (The Stone Mirror) at MAC, Lima.
  • 2016: Died in Lima.

See also


  1. El arte de ser peruano: un perfil de Lika Mutal, artista plástica.
  2. Falleció la artista Lika Mutal: autora de “El ojo que Llora” y “El espejo de Piedra”.
  3. Lika Mutal CV. Artnet.
  4. El arte de ser peruano: Lika Mutal. Youtube Revista Cosas.
  5. Op. cit. El arte de ser peruano: un perfil de Lika Mutal…


1. Moraña, Mabel. (2014). Inscripciones críticas: ensayos sobre cultura latinoamericana. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Cuarto Propio.

2. Rubiano Caballero, Germán. (2001). Art of Latin America 1981-2000. Washington: Inter-American Development Bank.

Banco de la República Art Collection


1.Research and text: Alejandro Lozano, mediator of Banco de la República museums and collections, for Banrepcultural.

2.Review and editing: Inti Camila Romero Estrada and Diana Marcela Salas Solórzano. Public and Educational Services, Art and Other Collections Unit (UAOC).