Popular Nicaraguan ceramic artist on U.S. tour
Raleigh, NC – Master cultural ceramic artist Santiago Gutierrez of Nicaragua is currently on a seven city tour of U.S. arts festivals. He recently won the ‘Best in Show’ ceramic/pottery category at the 2015 CenterFest art festival in Durham, NC, the 2015 Armonk Outdoor Art Show in New York, and the Ann Arbor Art Show in Michigan. Gutierrez’s specialty is single-fired, stone polished pottery using both traditional techniques from his Nicoya Indian tribal ancestors as well as contemporary designs and colors.
Gutierrez is a native of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua, a village increasingly known in the art world for advanced pottery craftsmanship. Local artisans of the village use unique techniques developed by their families over many generations. Some of their cultural pottery designs date back 2,000 years. In modern times, the pueblo’s ceramic artists have studied advanced methods in Spain and have received international accolades for their work, including Gutierrez. Styles range from pre-Columbian to flora and fauna to geometric designs.
Gutierrez has an on-going display in the United States at the Nica Ceramic Art Gallery in Raleigh, NC. Gallery owner Paul Devoti stated, “I’ve been working with ceramic artisans in San Juan de Oriente since my Peace Corps days 20 years ago. I’m truly impressed with the museum quality pieces that Santigo creates. There are few artists in clay who are in his league – the detail and precision of his work is amazing.” Devoti displays ceramic art in his gallery from a variety of the village’s artists, including Gregorio Bracamonte, Helio Gutierrez, Juan Boza Gutierrez, Miquel Maldonado, and Jose Ortiz.
Devoti founded Nica Ceramic Art upon returning from his US Peace Corps station in Nicaragua in 1998. At the time, he noticed a general lack of documentation of the Nicoyan Indian heritage that existed in museums in the U.S.
The tour is part of a 5-year cultural exchange program sponsored by Devoti to feature artists such as Gutierrez at art shows as well as expose North American audiences to the finely crafted cultural pottery produced by the Nicoyan Indians of Nicaragua. As part of the exchange program, Devoti conducts tours to Nicaragua where he introduces art enthusiasts to the ceramic artists and their studios, the cultural aspects of the village, the Island of Owetepe, and other cultural sites of the country.
The current U.S. tour includes art shows in Williamsburg, VA, Crozet, VA, Bethesda, MD, Memphis, TN, Santa Fe, NM, Pensacola, FL, and Winston-Salem, NC. The full schedule and details of each show are available on the Nica Ceramic Art website.