Diego Mánchez Raymondi (Cañete–Lima, 1988). Graduated from the specialty of sculpture from the National Superior Autonomous School of Fine Arts, where he is currently a professor of art. He participates in artistic shows in Peru and other South American countries. Several of this works adorn different Peruvian Embassies around the world.
Túcume, October 10, 2018:
Today is the day of my reunion with the visual artist Diego Mánchez Raymondi. Graduated from the National Autonomous School of Fine Arts in Lima, Diego is quickly making a name for himself in the world of Peruvian art due to his great sensitivity toward the preservation of our culture and, especially, that of the Peruvian Hairless Dog.
Lover of all dogs, he had his first Hairless Dog at 15 years old: his name was Negrito. Unfortunately, Negrito died shortly after, but this event was the trigger that guided his art towards the protection of the Peruvian Hairless Dog and, in general, of the Peruvian biodiversity and its endangered species. He currently has Samín, a 3 year old Peruvian Hairless Dog who, like Negrito, is his faithful friend and source of inspiration.
I met Diego in the year 2015, at the Peruvian National Library, while my first film on the Peruvian Hairless Dog was being projected in the context of my first Peruvian tour. It was then he showed me his art and I commissioned from him a sculpture inspired on the theme of my movie, which would adorn the small personal “museum” I have at home in Paris of objects pertaining to the Peruvian Hairless Dog. A few months later, I brought home a beautiful natural scale sculpture of a magnificent and proud dog that has, ever since, been the center of attention of all who visit.
I kept in tough with Diego and, shortly after, as I was traveling to the main seat of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), in Thuin–Belgium, on the occasion of the official presentation ceremony for that same film at the FCI, we agreed we would present the seat with a statue of a Peruvian Hairless Dog created by him. I had visited the FCI in previous years and had seen how committees from different countries that went there left all kinds of presents that represented the dogs native to those countries. These presents were then exhibited in the small museum they keep there for just this purpose; in this way, they not only represented the visiting country, they also highlighted the existence of the breed they represented to all who visited the main seat of one of the more important cynlogical organizations in the world. However, Peru wasn’t being represented by a work of art of such importance. Thus, with much joy, this beautiful sculpture of a marvelous specimen of Peruvian Hairless Dog was received by the Executive Manager of the FCI, Mr. Yves De Clercq, and we unveiled it to the public, that splendid symbol of our country and of our national heritage, which, from that moment on, has held a very privileged place in said museum, announcing to all who come that the Peruvian Hairless Dog is a breed that must be well taken into account (*).
This time, Diego surprised me by letting me know he would travel to Lambayeque to meet me for the occasion of the ash-depositing ceremony for my two beloved dogs, Paucar and Killa, at the Cemetery for Peruvian Hairless Dogs of the Túcume Museum. As we meet by the main entrance to the museum I see he’s already become friends with Ñamla, the museum’s pet who’s named after the bird-god of Lambayeque, and with whom he’s already playing.
We say hello and he says to me: “I come from a long journey of over a week traveling between Cañete, Lima, La Paz, and Cuzco. In this last city I participated in the ‘Alternate Visions’ art show at the National Bank’s Art Gallery. There, I exhibited my painting ‘Jatun Allqu’. Nonetheless, I couldn’t miss the activities of the ‘Peruvian Hairless Dog’ in the ‘Mother Earth’ Tour in Lambayeque and be present at the ash-depositing ceremony for your dogs Paucar and Killa. So I recharged energies and set off to be here.”
He shows a big, wrapped object and adds: “I’ve brought a sculpture by me that’ll adorn [Paucar and Killa’s] mausoleum at the Cemetery for Peruvian Hairless Dogs of the Ecological Museum of Túcume.” Of course, this gesture gives me a very pleasant surprise and causes great emotion! And with that he unveils a beautiful sculpture worked in fiberglass and resin of my two adored dogs that will be honored at said museum ceremony.
He then adds: “This place is actually the birthplace of the Peruvian Hairless Dog… I feel like home. It’s curious and interesting to see this Cemetery for Peruvian Hairless Dog and its mausoleums… It’s a charming place! Also, seeing the mausoleums makes me nostalgic because it reminds me of the 3-year project I’m still working on with Samín, which one day will be completed… Although it may sound sad, to me it would an honor to make him a monument and honor my best friend after his passing.”
Diego confirms that no doubt the idea of being able to create such a piece destined to immortalize two dogs that were very much loved by their owner, as were Paucar and Killa, attracted him so. As did, back then, the idea of creating a piece that would represent Peru before the FCI.
He tells me his first artistic inspiration was an adobe sculpture called “Guardían Viringo”, which served as an investigation project into this dog breed in pre-Colombian cultures. From then on, and with this sole and unswerving goal, he’s been dedicated to this since 2012.
“Viringo, Eleven Seconds in Time” is one of his most celebrated projects. It is an installation set up in 2014, partly in his studio in Cañete, where he lives, and partly at the School of Fine Arts in Lima. The installation has 11 pieces of around 25 kilograms each made using a technique of assembling iron and concrete. About it he tells me: “In this project I wanted to recreate this dog in a surrealist way: coming from the earth, then, flying into the skies and, finally, returning to the earth, as if to say: The dog is born from the earth and to it it must return, you know? I wanted to do it with slightly faceted proportions and for this dog to have a new proposal within the sculpture, and that it be exhibited as a spatial work in an artistic installation.”
Talking on the subject, Diego tells me: “Why not? All of this came together: what I personally lived with my dog and, now, my historical, archaeological and general investigation of the Peruvian Dog. The new piece, “Paucar and Killa”, was executed with this vision in mind and, now, it’ll remain at the Cemetery for Peruvian Hairless Dogs of the Túcume National Museum. It’s the first time I make a sculpture on a pedestal in honor of two deceased dogs. I wanted to make a small memorial for them because they were part of a family; that way I can highlight their social role in the Peru of today. Moreover, these two dogs participated as promoters of their breed through an audiovisual work that has traveled through many cities of the world; it was only natural I honor them. It’s definitely a new proposal for me.”
Currently, Diego continues his work developing with greater fidelity the realistic side of the dog: its expression and physical demeanor. About it he tells me: “I had to tweak some details. In this case, I worked from photographs and a painting of the same dogs I made three years ago.”
Diego is perhaps the first modern Peruvian artist who’s in exploring this kind of work. He tells me: “I feel happy to be able to contribute a grain of sand toward the preservation of this Peruvian dog and, above all, to do so in an archaeological center as is Túcume. This little dog is part of our tradition and we can find him in the art of the peoples who lived in this place during pre-Colombian times.”
Today, Diego is laying out a proposal in forged metal. He tells me about it: “I will continue working on installations, iconographies, and I’m thinking of developing a proposal that is more adverse, bringing to light the cultural importance of the Peruvian Hairless Dog within my art.”
In the journey that has been rearing and studying the Peruvian Hairless Dog and, then, promoting it throughout the world by means of the specimens I’ve had and still have and, lately, through the audiovisual body of work I produce, I’ve met a great many people who enthusiastically dedicate their time to the preservation and promotion of this wonderful ancient breed. At a notable place in this list of people one finds this young artist from Cañete, who with his splendid naturalist sculptures of the Peruvian Hairless Dog is populating homes, embassies, museums and, now, mausoleums with worthy representatives of this breed, Peruvian Cultural Heritage.
I’ve had the opportunity of traveling to several countries taking, for one reason or another, a specimen of his art and I’ve been witness to the astonishment and profound interest it produces in all who observe it. I’ve seen how people who have never seen a Peruvian Hairless Dog, as well as breeders and experts on this breed, have remained spellbound before the natural beauty of his sculptures and the fidelity of the grace and the expression of these beautiful dogs. Nonetheless, it’s important to underscore that beyond that elegant and subtle expression of the beauty that radiates from the Peruvian Hairless Dog, the art of Diego Mánchez Raymondi also reflects the desire to protect a living heritage, conserving, at the same time, its aesthetic. It’s because of this that his work no doubt offers a great motivation and is feedback for all of us who want a conservation of the Peruvian Hairless Dog.