Artisans and Crafts of Cusco
Right across the church on the Plaza de San Blas is located Pacha Papa, a perfect place where to have lunch.
Referring to liver culture, the most valuable thing in San Blas is its master artisans; the very best of these brilliant artists that created a school, each one with their own cosmovision and style; with their workshops in their neighborhood that can be visited, and the house-workshop of the late Hilario Mendivil is one of them. His heirs continue with the art of don Hilario and his wife, Doña Georgina Dueñas, and permit the access to the place where there is a museum and shop. His work is the religious imagery with the unmistakable trait of the long necks in his figures and the profusion of elements in his altarpieces. The family also paints scenes of Cusco festivities with a naïve technique. In the workshop of Antonio Olave, one of Mendivil’s most respected and prestigious colleagues, you can find many samples of the artist’s work who was declared Peru`s Live Culture Heritage. He works with his wife and children. His thing is sumptuous images that appear to be like European sculptural art but that immediately reveals his mixed-race soul and Andean heart. Don Antonio, with more than 80 years old is still active and attentive, willing to sit down and chat with his visitors.
The Peruvian state also acknowledged the work of the artist Edilberto Merida, who passed away in 2009. Merida’s workshop has a gallery where his most important works are exhibited. Merida specialized in the treatment of wood and ceramic that he used to carve his clearly expressionist style with a strong social component. His daughter, Maria Antonieta, continues to work at the workshop.
The place I would recommend you for dinner, with the purpose of keeping bonded to the cultural world, is the Divina Comedia Restaurant. This place put together by Joel Evrad, a French living in Cusco, combines scenic arts with the best cuisine.
If you’re looking for handicrafts of all type, downtown Cusco should be your destination. You will find stores where you can buy camelid fiber-made pieces, jewels, art, antiques, replicas of Colonial artwork, natural products and products made from coca leaves. There are also some projects that benefit orphan children that are artisans.