James L. Govan is the author of Art of the Creche: Nativities from Around the World (Merrell), a book that showcases a stunning array of creches portrayals of the nativity using carefully crafted figurines.
While Jesus and Mary are nativity scene standards, Govans book highlights inventive religious representations, from a Peruvian artist who uses boiled and mashed potatoes mixed with Plaster of Paris, to a sculptor in Singapore who works with cinnamon paste.
According to Govan, People tend to present in terms of their own cultural milieu, which keeps each cultures nativity scenes distinct and artistically ambitious.
And since Govan has traveled as far as Africa and Eastern Europe to collect his creches, he enjoys showing off his collection, especially around the holidays.
Govan says, Around Christmas I display around 50 or 60, but I have more than 450 that arent on exhibit.
Art of the Creche is on shelves now, and an exhibit of Govans creches is on display at Loyola University Museum in Chicago until January 27, 2008.
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