#723 Mashed Potato Retablo

Acquired 2015

Nicario Jimenez, a Peruvian folk artist has won international acclaim for his detailed and sophisticated retablos. A retablo is Andean folk art in the form of portable boxes, with doors that open to reveal brightly colored figurines arranged into intricate narrative scenes. Of course, my retablo is his rendition of the nativity story. Nicario's hands move quickly and with confidence as he fashions people, animals, and other figures to create poignant scenes from a doughy mixture of boiled potato and gypsum powder. For his sculpting process, Nicario's only tool is a small piece of wood resembling an enlarged toothpick! He is a third-generation artist following the trade from his father and grandfather! He has won worldwide acclaim for his most unusual potato clay and his unique creations.This specific retablo was found by my sister, Pennie, on her recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at an exquisite art gallery, Galeria Alpacora. When she learned the nativity was made from mashed potatoes, she immediately e-mailed Janine who told her, “Yes, my dad would love to purchase the retablo for my mom”! My brother-in-law, Allen, hand carried the delicate box on the plane all the way home. It was presented to me on Thanksgiving Evening, 11/26/15. Bob said the purchase price was $400!