Maximiano Ochante is an expert at making altarpieces. He spent his childhood in the convent of Santa Clara, Ayacucho, because his father worked there. He supported the work of the church until he was nineteen years old and left Ayacucho.
His parents encouraged him to do evangelical work, a family tradition. Maximiano knew he was not a gifted speaker, so he found a different form of expression. He became convinced that, by making altarpieces, his hands could spread the words of the Lord. Thus, he ended up doing evangelical work, just like his ancestors, parents and siblings. Maximiano was intrigued by art from an early age. As a ten-year-old he took a course in crafting during a school holiday. It was a short course, but its content continues to motivate him today.
Afterwards, he wanted to learn more about making altarpieces. Mardonius López, son of the grand altarpiece-maker Antay Joaquín López, taught him the basic rules and the type of paint one should use. The rest of his knowledge he acquired as an autodidact. At the time, many artists struggled to find financial support. The lack of opportunities, terrorism and the low profitability of his work, pushed Maximiano to Lima in 1980.
As he did not have enough money to study, Maximiano started to make chess sets with characters from the Incas and the Spanish, as well as altarpieces he offered to tourists. He contacted art galleries and they were impressed by the beauty of his work. They began to sell his pieces in the center of Lima and he became a well-known artist.
As always, he was confident in the ability of his hands, so he decided to study to become a dental technician. He realized the possibilities this would give him in life, even beyond creating dental prosthetics.
After making a lot of sacrifices, Maximiano won the Inti Raymi prize two times, in 1995 and 1997. Other awards followed and European experts recognized him as a talented representative of Peruvian folk art. He has exhibited in Peru and abroad and is best-known for his altarpieces.
Maximiano is still as cheerful and optimistic as before. He lives surrounded by a multitude of figures made of flour and plaster. Some are brightly painted and other white figures are ready to be colored.