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Alejandro Chavez crafts a mirror frame rooted in Andean tradition with four different vignettes. At the top, Andean shepherds serenade the Holy Family beneath the stars on the very first Christmas. To the left and right, a llama and a cow rest outdoors. Along the bottom are three bright flowers. Known as a retablo, this traditional diorama is housed in a colorful chest crafted of plywood and painted. The Peruvian artisan carefully models each figure from ceramic plaster and paints them by hand to surround a heart-shaped looking glass.
Novica sales provide Alejandro's family workshop with a steady cash flow. These sales account for nearly half of their monthly income, helping to ensure their survival. Markets and other seasonal outlets provide supplemental income that contributes to their annual living expenses. In the coming years, Alejandro hopes to grow his workshop and better his family by increasing his Novica sales.
At school in Ayacucho, Alejandro began to learn the indigenous art of Andean retableria. Seeking to refine his craft, he apprenticed at the workshop of Angel Castro to learn the secrets of a master retablista. Upon his teacher's death, Alejandro founded his own workshop. There he began to incorporate his wife's modeled figures into his traditional retablos. Today Alejandro's nephews are his apprentices and his family workshop continues to craft their beloved retablos, which recount the culture and traditions of the Andes.
One year away from his 50th birthday, Alejandro and his wife adopted a son and a daughter (Jose and Carol) from their hometown. Today Alejandro continues to provide for the education of his children and his grandchild, who joined the family in 2018. His daughter Carol is studying accounting and his son Jose is at the police academy.
Unable to have children, the couple decided to adopt two children from their hometown. Their daughter Carol now has a child and the two of them live with Alejandro and his wife.