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Puma de los Andes (José Luis Sotelo Montoro): A man who lives and breathes his art

 Puma de los Andes (José Luis Sotelo Montoro): A man who lives and breathes his art

I first met José Luis Sotelo Montoro (Puma de los Andes) at his home a couple of days before my interview. That evening, the night sky was thick with rain clouds, but it held off long enough for us to find his home. For my friend, Marbel, this was the third time she had seen José’s incredible Christmas exhibition (which is actually displayed in his living room) - she even joked that maybe she should get a cut for bringing so many people to see it.

We met again on Sunday, the last night of the display. As I spoke limited Spanish, and he just a little English, Marbel had to be our interpreter. There were plenty of laughs between the serious questions - it was like three friends catching up over drinks.

José has three words to describe his creative expression: Art, freedom and faith. To him, faith is the most important, and without it his art would have no meaning. He has learned to let go of ego, because for him we all work, but not everyone will leave their mark. He believes that the talent isn’t his, for his craft is the medium to express his faith - a gift from God.



Peru: Walking back in time in Waullac, Huaraz

Peru: Walking back in time in Waullac, Huaraz

The rainy season has made me claustrophobic. I’ve missed being out hiking but I’ve learned to listen to advice from those who know this area well, because when it rains in the mountains, it’s not just any rain. It’s glacial rain and it can chill you to the bone.

Liliana and I decided to check out Waullac, an archeological site in the barrio de Nicrucampa and believed to have been in use from 200 AC - 600 DC. It’s said to be linked to other sites I’ve already been to - Pumacayan (which is where I live) and Willkawain. The adobe house structures are typical of the Wari culture, though it looks more like storage houses than the ceremonial buildings in Willkawain.