Global Gifts: Artisan stories from Peru 

Page 7 of 7

click to enlarge Ruth Palomino
  • Ruth Palomino

Clara, now 26, works in a factory to make ends meet, in addition to helping Zoila as needed. Oscar completed a degree in commercial exportation and was the logistics side of his mom's and sister's businesses.

Three years ago, Oscar was helping Zoila finish an order when he decided to go hang out on the beach for the afternoon. "I'll paint the eyes when I get back," he told Zoila. Hours passed and Oscar didn't return.

Oscar had drowned. He was 27 years old.

Several weeks passed and Yannina started wondering where Zoila's order was. It was past due and she was surprised she hadn't heard from her. She called and Zoila recounted what had happened. Yannina assured her that she would talk to the client and get more time to complete the order. "But I can't finish the order. I don't know how to do the eyes," Zoila told her. "Oscar did that."

Zoila eventually somehow finished the eyes and was surprised when Yannina kept calling her to inform her of new orders every two weeks or so. As this was far more frequent than usual, she thought she knew where they were coming from: "Oscar is sending us these orders."

Ruth's figures do not have eyes or detail work on their faces. An homage to her late brother?

A mom trying to survive teaches her daughter the tools for her own trade. The daughter takes her skill to the next level and produces art.

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