"My art strives to be a testimony to history and tradition.... One of my proudest moments was receiving the Vizcardo & Guzmán Medal as a master artisan, awarded by the Peruvian Congress."
Born in Apurimac in 1965, Edmundo Contreras Aquise works in the andahuaylino (Andahuaylas) style. He uses painted glass and crackled finishes in a technique that is both traditional and modern. His motifs range from the pre-Hispanic, colonial, and ethnic to the beauty and culture of the Andean world and its wildlife.
"I inherited my interest in art from my mother, a weaver," he says. "As an adolescent, I enjoyed painting and liked to create cartoons as a form of social protest (when terrorists threatened our land). In this way I represented those difficult moments when students and country people faced danger from two fronts.
"I learned a great deal from my companions in a craft workshop taught by Amilcar Andía, a gentleman from Andahuaylas. One of my friends was Juan Quintín, a painter, and another was Reinaldo Rivera, who had graduated from the School of Fine Arts. From them I learned a great deal, and through practice, I discovered more techniques.
"My art strives to be a testimony to history and tradition. With the danger of extinction of certain art forms, I represent them in hand-painted wood, glass and ceramic. These take the form of objects that are utilitarian and decorative, such as home furnishings, mirrors, vases and more.
"I've exhibited my work at arts and crafts fairs, and in 1995 took first place in the Concurso Internacional para América Latina y el Caribe, winning the UNESCO Prize. One of my proudest moments was receiving the Vizcardo & Guzmán Medal as a master artisan, awarded by the Peruvian Congress in 2002.
"My dream is for my art to be known and appreciated outside my country."