"From all crafts developed in Ayacucho, I've chosen the piedra de Huamanga because my character is very alike."
Juan Licas (1954) is a carver who works the piedra de Huamanga (stone of Huamanga). This mineral is obtained from mines in the central and southern regions of Peru. As it is soft and easy to work with, this master artisan has made it a vehicle for expressing his art.
"I've been an artisan for about 30 years. I learned stone carving since I was very young. From all those crafts, I've chosen the piedra de Huamanga because our characters are very alike. My work portrays religious motifs, and some daily scenes of the Peruvian people. My craft is simple - I choose the stone pieces according to the form I intend to create on it. The block is sawed and carved with chisels, burins, drills and other appropriate tools. Later, the piece is detailed and sanded, enhancing the beauty of its natural finish. As the stone of Huamanga is very fragile, it has to be carefully handled, and a small hit in the wrong place can be enough for destroying a piece at any stage."
In a beautiful paradox, the coarse hands of Juan Licas are delicate instruments for creating pieces with a fragile structure and a deep mystical content.