HE’S one of Peru’s greatest living sculptors and his latest exhibition is upstairs at a Colchester delicatessen.

Last year Armando Varela had crowds flocking to his massive solo exhibition at the Gallery in Peru’s capital city, Lima, and the year before that he was honoured with a retrospective show at the Peruvian Embassy in London.

So why has he chosen Gunton’s Delicatessen in Crouch Street, Colchester, to exhibit his latest collection of work?

He says: “Well, my son lives here for a start and I wanted a good place to show some of my drawings.

“I have never done anything like this before. My work is usually sculpture, so I thought why not draw something for a special show in Colchester.”

Born in Lima, Armando studied sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in the city.

After graduating in 1960, he was awarded the Gold Medal, the school’s highest honour, and then in 1963 won a French government scholarship to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.

As a founding member of the pioneering Peruvian art movement Grupo Arte Nuevo, he spent the next few years developing his avant-garde style and exhibiting throughout Latin America.

In 1972, after discovering the sculpture movement in London at the time, he decided to move with his wife Maria to the city.

“I went to St Martin’s School of Art in London,” he says. “At the time the work they were producing was a lot like mine and the people there were a great influence on my sculptures.”

After completing his postgraduate studies, he became a full-time member of staff in the sculpture department from 1979 to 1998.

He has been selected on several occasions for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

In 2004, he was commissioned by Essex University to create a sculpture commemorating its 40th anniversary, and it now forms part of their Latin American Art Collection.

While he may not be so well known over here, in his native Peru, Armando's works are on permanent display at museums and public parks, notably the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Museo de la Nacion, Museo de la Universidad de San Marcos and the Parque Britanico.

Armando, who is 80 this year, adds: “I have enjoyed doing these drawings. “I hope the people of Colchester like them very much.”

 Armando Varela: Drawings is on until the end of March.