Is the Finest Native Potter in the World from Nicaragua?

April 10, 2017

Is the Finest Native Potter in the World from Nicaragua?

Pueblo pottery refers to the traditional pottery of the New Mexico and Arizona “pueblos”.  However pottery was an intimate part of indigenous communities around the world. Someone once said “the history of the world is told by the native pots collected around the globe.”

In his newest work Santiago Gutierrez, a 32 year old ceramic artisan from San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua has mesmerized the native art world with his exquisite execution. It is both the native code and contemporary layer that make Santiago’s work a blend of both old and new energies. 

The knowledge of Central America's cultural history being almost completely obscure, it is a surprise to see a Nicaraguan artist exploding onto the scene with such sophisticated and native influenced work.The truth is that San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua has a two thousand year history of pottery making.  Local artisans have continued the tradition with the local clay.  Women maintained the pottery tradition making utilitarian ware after the ceremonial sculptures were lost after the Spanish arrived in the 1500’s.

The Island of Ometepe was the center of the Gran Nicoya geographical zone and the Island is one of the most important cultural areas in all of the America’s. The lost cultural history of the Gran Nicoyan can be told by a visit to Ometepe Island and an introduction to the current contemporary pottery of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua.

It is with this unique history that Santiago Gutierrez grew up in the San Juan pueblo. His first memories are of cleaning clay to hand to his Grandmother that she would coil into large ollas. They would fire them with sticks and straw right in the street. As a teenager Santiago began a journey to develop his own style, true to the roots but representing the personal creative touch. That commitment to explore the creative limits of decorating clay has delivered Santiago Gutierrez to the international stage where his work can be enjoyed and evaluated.

Time will tell where his journey leads but the undeniable now is exhibited in his clay creations.

Is the finest native potter working in the world today from San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua?

Take a look, enjoy, share. 

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