Artisan Organization: Jhonny Romani
"I was born in the beautiful province of Ayacucho where our traditions include the art of carving Peruvian Huamanga stone. It's a very special kind of stone resembling alabaster in appearance. I love its translucency that makes every single carving unique.
"As a child, I enjoyed playing with clay, drawing and painting with temperas. By high school, I usually took first place in art exhibitions and this is what led me to become an artisan. Although it took a lot of effort and sacrifice, I was able to graduate from the Ayacucho School of Fine Arts.
"There, I experimented with a number of materials until I discovered Huamanga stone. At the same time, I met the Pillaca family, and they played a key role in my learning, inspiring me and giving me an example to follow. We remain close friends.
"I consider myself a perseverant man. When problems arise, I always look for solutions. I'm innovative in my work and constantly create new designs. I love art and nature.
"When I was 13, my mother died. She was a strong and valiant woman, a fighter and an indefatigable worker. Even though she was with me for only a short time, she taught me the values that characterize me today. She was my strength as a child, when I needed it most. I learned I should live day to day doing the things that make me happy.
"I've had my own workshop since 2002. That's a lot of years of constancy, stubbornness and love for art. I had to study a lot. I traveled to many parts of Peru to learn from the experience of the great carvers and I've always worked hard without moving away from art.
"Stone sculpture is a wonderful way to express my emotions and feelings, our customs and traditions. I really connect with this material and am able to discover its inner beauty. My greatest challenge is when time is short and I have so many ideas for my carvings. I try to express most of them.
"The force of nature, her extreme and fascinating beauty, are my greatest source of inspiration. The stone itself also inspires me.
"I hope to grow as a person and become the best version of myself that I can be. I hope that artistic young people who graduate here in the provinces can have the opportunity to work and learn in my workshop. I dream of acquiring a large lot where I can build a house and fill it with art and my Huamanga stone sculptures. Perhaps I could make it a museum. Why not?""