San Antonio de Ibarra lays claim to the "wood carving capital" of Ecuador. And since there are literally hundreds of wood carvers and many artists working in the city, with dozens of large and small galleries to showcase their work, it is well deserved.
Even at the center of the city stands a monument to the flavor of art in San Antonio de Ibarra.
The city of San Antonio de Ibarra
The city in Ecuador is a center for art but also is an area of natural beauty. There is a history that goes back to the 1800's of a youngster by the name of Daniel Reyes, who came to the area after an earthquake in 1868 as just a helper to restore the churches and other works of art that were destroyed. What he became was an Icon and important figure, and the passion he gave to San Antonio de Ibarra for art is still felt today.
The artisans work in many different venues such as sculpting, murals, statues and classic and religious figures. They also work with modern art, animals, vases and many variations of wood sculpting and carving.
Chess set made of wood and tagua. Pieces depict the Spaniards and the indigenous people of that time.
San Antonio is what might be called an average city in Ecuador. Although some things have changed in 40 years, most remains the same. There are more people as farmers have come to the "city" to find work that pays better. Many have taken up a wood carvers trade as it can provide a more consistent income, and there seems to be no shortage of wood.
The city has added some modern touches but it is still a quiet village by most standards. Far removed from the big cities of Quito or Otavalo. With the shopping centers, conveniences and noise removed to the larger metropolis. San Antonio retains the calm exterior traditional with the outlying cities in Ecuador.