Art is creativity and everyone has it.
In Nicaragua, I am ‘artesano’, that means ‘ambachtsman’ und ‘kunstenaar’ in Dutch, ‚handcrafter’ and ‚artist’ in English. My mother used to earn money by providing embroideries and borders to children’s clothes and tablecloths. That inspired me to do also something with my own hands. Since I was a child, I always wanted to be autonomous and started with 14 years to earn my own money – part of it was for my family, the other part for myself. When I was 17, I got in touch with the artesanos, who sold their own jewellery in the central park of my hometown Granada in Nicaragua. Some of them were from Guatemala, Mexico or Argentina and brought different materials and techniques from there. None of us artesanos attended ever an artistic formation.
In Holland, there is an instruction manual for everything. There are pop-academies, dance-academies or schools for fishing. In Nicaragua, people have to learn themselves to sing, to fish or to dance. The same with Art, no one learns it sitting on a school bench. I taught myself how to produce my own jewellery by observing the manufacturing process of the other artesanos and soon started to sell it. I used the money I earned to finance my studies in biology – in contrary to some of my colleagues, who spent their money of the day for alcohol, and sometimes for crack or marihuana in the same night. Living in the streets brings you in contact with good and bad things. I was lucky to get in touch only with good aspects of it.
Producing my jewellery, I often use leather, silver or semiprecious stones like obsidians, tiger’s-eye or jade. Furthermore I apply an old Arab handcraft-technique called macramé, which generates different patterns out of waxed threads, which rotate and are alternately knotted. Until today, I get the materials I use from Nicaragua.
Love brought me in 2009 to Groningen in the Netherlands, where I live and work today. Two years before, I got to know my girlfriend Jiri through a project in Granada, where she worked as a psychologist and where I taught underprivileged children to create their own jewellery. From childhood on, children in Nicaragua rarely get compliments from their parents, whereby lots of them don’t have a lot of self-esteem. Through creative processes and as they see, that they can accomplish something beautiful, you can see their self-confidence grow. From the very beginning on, I found Jiri amazing, but it was difficult to show this. She spoke very little Spanish and I hardly knew a word in English, in addition to this I was very shy. I am namely not so typically “Latino-macho”. After all, I invited her to see my mother and then asked her, if she wants to be my girlfriend. She answered by giving me a kiss. I never expected this.
Art in the Netherlands is different from art in Nicaragua, it seems more revolutionary to me. In the Netherlands, you expect art to be always new and it often contains controversial opinions or swims against the stream, whereas Nicaraguan art always goes back to the roots of its culture. The Nicaraguan society is less open to other views. With art, there are more often told stories about Nicaragua, which we are proud of. In terms of art, both countries can still learn a lot from each other. In Groningen, my favourite artwork is an 8 meter high cast-iron woman next tot he central station. She reminds me the Nicaraguan legend “La Gigantona y el Enano Cabezón“, „The giant and the dwarf with a big head“. The legend tells the story of a noble Spanish giantess, which symbolizes for Nicaraguans the arrogance of the Spanish. For the Spanish, it is more a symbol for wisdom, power and elegance. In Nicaragua, the legend is often played in the streets with theatre, music and dance.
You can find my work on my website. When I sell my jewellery, I like to first speak with the people, to find out what they like and what fits to their taste. Some time ago, I made a wristwatch bracelet for someone from Curacao. The young man was missing the see around his island in the Caribbean. My design for him was a blue wristlet, that stood for the waves in the Caribbean see.
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