Victor Huaman Gutierrez

Women’s Work Victor Huaman Gutierrez
Victor Huaman Gutierrez: Victor Huaman Guitierrez is a self-taught artist living in a
remote village in the Central Highlands of Peru. His journey as an artist
began at the age of eleven when he saw a Retablo for the first time.
Retablos are a key part of the Peruvian culture and originally served as
religious shrines, but have evolved to include depictions of secular scenes
of daily life and traditional events. Victor has since dedicated himself to
this ancient art form that originated in the nearby town of Ayacucho.

Victor is one of fifteen siblings, seven of whom died at an early age due to
malnutrition and other hardships of living in extreme poverty. To this day,
as a result of these harsh conditions, he is ill at ease with much of adult life.
Victor has a singular manner of speaking, is unusually shy and sheltered for
his age, often struggling to fit in. He lives in the village of Quinua with his
now elderly parents in a rustic adobe house with no indoor plumbing.

Victor works in almost complete isolation, in a small corner of his home
reserved as his “studio”, surrounded by the clutter of family belongings. His
materials include a local brand of children’s water color paints, a variety
of odds and ends he finds on his daily walks and brushes he makes from
hair that is either his own or that of the cat, burro or goat. Victor has
become a master. His technical and artistic skills, attention to detail,
ability to tell a story and sense of humor along with his capacity to grasp
sophisticated issues are remarkable given his solitary circumstances. The
themes he works with range from Peru’s current political/social/economic
situation, to the history of the Sendero Luminoso, to the cultural diversity
and legacy of his Quechua heritage.

Of Victor’s amazing Retablos, Pamela Ravasio writes:
“Discrete humor is in fact a key ingredient to Victor’s creative output. With
a keen eye and a child-like curiosity, he catches and depicts modern life
and the paradoxes between those better off and those less so, those
living in the deep country side and those in the nation’s capital, those at
the edge of technical advancement and those that seem to remain in
total ignorance of any change.
Gifted with an innate talent to tell a story as well as his subtle sense of
humor, attention to detail is the basis for his technical and artistic skill. The
results are scenes and figures, fully hand molded, and in exact proportion
and relationship to each other.
Thanks to his keen observational eye and a genuine sense of compassion,
these depictions of present-day Peru unobtrusively create a narrative
thread of his own social commentary on the society and barrios he
witnesses. All adorned with a tender sense of humor. Given his isolated
situation, his capacity to grasp sophisticated and complex themes is
surprising, and most characteristically comes to life in the series of 3-storied
retablos, each of which exhibits his unique perspective and

Art is a place of light that illuminates the soul, the life - a total expression.
Through art I found my voice and I am the messenger of my Quechua ancestors.
As an artist it is a great honor to have the responsibility of transmitting to the world Peru’s current and ancestral reality.