The Artist of the Andes
Retablos are sophisticated folk art in the form of portable boxes filled with brightly
colored figurines arranged into intricate narrative scenes. From the 16th to the
19th centuries, Retablos were carried through the mountains by Spanish priests as
portable religious shrines for Catholic saints. Later, they were adapted by indigenous
people to include their own deities and mythologies.
Nicario's compositions depict religious, historical and everyday events. His hands
move quickly and with confidence to fashion people, animals, and mythical figurines
as he creates poignant scenes from a doughy mixture of boiled potato and gypsum
powder. For his sculpting process, Nicario's only tool is a small piece of wood resembling
an enlarged toothpick.
Born in a peasant community in the high Peruvian Andes, Nicario
studied sculpture at the Centro de Capacitacion Artesanal de Huamanaga and
attended the Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanga in
Ayacucho, Peru. His one person exhibitions include the San Francisco Craft
and Folk Art Museum, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Museum of Man
in San Diego, California, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and the Rhode
Island School of Design.
His work was selected by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington,
D.C. for its
"Seeds of Change" Exhibit and was subsequently purchased by the Smithsonian
for its permanent collection. Nicario has taught and lectured at the
University of Miami, the University of California, San Diego, Whittier
College and American University. Jimenez's work is included
in numerous prestigious public, corporate, and private collections. The
artist now lives in Naples, Florida.