“Mario Calderon’s Toy House is a rare manifestation of a man’s tenacity in his task of safekeeping fragments of the world embodied in toys”. Ginett Alarcón.
Mario is one of the most important toymakers in his country (Venezuela). He has more than 30 years of career. He has traveled with his work to countries such as Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Peru, Qatar, Spain and The United States.
His toys have received important awards in his country and around the world, including the UNESCO award of Excellence for Handicrafts.
His toys portray in a playful and colorful way, many of the most representative traditions of his country.
Mario is also a toy collector. His collection, which has more than 3,000 pieces, is grouped in a small but magical museum called “La Casa del Juguete” (The Toy House).
“Mario’s wooden toys are not simply made to be played with, they aim to evoke and transport adults back to their childhood. His brightly colored and detailed work is made with love and sense of nostalgia and he hopes they will bring to mind a simpler and more peaceful time”. International Folk Art Alliance Review.
“Mario and his toys are certainly a national treasure (..) He puts us in contact with the child inside us, while revealing a rich national patrimony” U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela 1997–2000.
“Are you Mario Alfredo Calderón, who used to live in the Sound of the 26th, the bongo player, the admirer of the writers José Balza, Guillermo Meneses, Arnaldo Acosta Bello, Salvador Garmendia, Cortázar and Borges? Also a bit of us, the minor poets, my distant friend. I mean the wonderful toymaker from Mérida and the world! If that so, I will raise my glass for a toast with Motatán and listen to the Classic Sonero of the Caribbean.”
Luis Alfredo Colmenares.
“That is right, Colmenares. It is the same Mario Calderón I met 12 years ago nearby the Milla’s square, in my desire for those toys and the pieces of life he uses to liven them up. Wood, it is what he uses to fight his personal battle against the oblivion and the “maturity” of the soul, which grow hearts old. As you might understand, he has not settled down nor found his better half, which is something we thank although he spends his life looking for it; in his case, time does not kill the passion for the imperfection, for the fruitful project, the grapes and the tempting apples. It is not about halves, or the “Barbie Calderón” in the kitchen. Against these, Mario has risked his life. Against the peace of the dying clerk and waking up absent from his tie. He has not registered his passions nor his midnight ghosts. Sometimes, his non-finished condition, nomad, haunts him incurable in front of the nurse-on-call. Everything has a price and Mario does not run up debts. For this reason, “distant friend”, I assure you this is about the same toymaker from Mérida and the world. Who else could it be?”
Luis Moros .