Antonio Pareja (Ayacucho, Peru, 1945 – ) is one of the most important Peruvian sculptures working today. A self-taught artist, his initial contact with art came in 1976, when he began work as a welder at the Universidad Católica School of Art. There, he received the support of Ana Macagno, at that time the Director of the School of Sculpture, who was impressed with a work the artist had made depicting a small bull. From that point on, students and professors encouraged him to continue his learning process. Later, urged on by the student Rocío Rodrigo, now a noted sculptor, Antonio took part in a contest organized by the Banco de Comercio, in which he received an honorable mention, a distinction that would motivate him to continue working until he developed his ability to create and depict—using wood, stone, or metal—his most cherished experiences and memories of his native Ayacucho. The current exhibition, El toro que soñé (The Bull I Dreamt Of), consists of fifteen works made from Huamanga stone, marble, granite, iron, and wood, in varying sizes, in which he displays an oeuvre defined by a direct, straightforward style, where animals and other figures greet us with a friendly, docile attitude, even smiling on occasion, though without losing their bold natural character. Likewise, figures such as the Ángel de la puna (Angel of the Puna), La momia (The Mummy), etc., reveal to us their characters and their weaknesses in an anecdotal tone. They are beings who assume their own peculiarities and even their shortcomings, although with a merry, carefree semblance. “Few Peruvian sculptors have enjoyed careers as exceptional as that of Antonio Pareja. A migrant who settled in Lima at a young age, Pareja has situated himself, in his self-taught vocation, along a delicate and emblematic line between the highbrow and the popular, incorporating a personal sophistication using regionally specific materials, such as Huamanga stone, while simultaneously recovering traditional Andean and urban imagery in marbles, woods, and metals, producing pieces of immense value. … [H]e has become a source of fascination and influence among his contemporaries.” “Antonio Pareja is perhaps the most exceptional and novel—and maybe, for the time being, unrepeatable—case of a contemporary, popular artist of Andean origin inserted in the visual arts scene of the dominant highbrow system.” Rodrigo Quijano, art critic and curator, from the catalogue of the Antonio Pareja survey show, 2004 Pareja does not use models. He simply depicts his subjects directly from his imagination and feelings, memories and experiences, the personal and popular imaginaries. His oeuvre is not limited by technical academic ideas. He goes beyond this, making his approach one of the most solid, convincing, and authentic to be found today. Of Pareja’s work, Jorge Villacorta Chávez has said: “The sculptures of Antonio Pareja are in a completely different category, however, reinforcing their author’s position as a loner. His is an art forged by himself, revealing his mettle as a very special case of cultural production that has arisen from a traditional background and undergone a process of change, fostered by his contact with the urban educational environment and the materials of artistic creation, to which he has responded with an exceptional sensibility.” (2001) The exhibition by Antonio Pareja at Enlace will be open to the public through August 5, from Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Av. Camino Real 1123, San Isidro. No entry fee.