Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Man of the Mountain: Alberto Gutierrez

In Nicaragua, the person who made the most profound impact on me was Alberto Gutierrez of the village of Tisey. Alberto, a self taught sculptor, began carving relief sculptures into the mountain where he lives in order to fill his time to overcome alcoholism.  Now 70 years old and sober Alberto has carved hundreds, maybe even thousands, of relief sculptures in the land behind his home.  

Modern day petroglyphs, Alberto's carvings depict Nicaraguan history, folk lore, and religious iconography.  As Alberto walked he stopped continuously to point out the names of plants, take in the gorgeous view, all the while explaining his carvings.  Noticing Alberto's  reverence for every detail I started to realize that I was not only witnessing Alberto's work, I was witnessing the history of Nicaragua. Alberto's work possesses a permanence that Nicaragua may never know.  Through his carvings Alberto has ensured that Nicaragua's history will literally be set in stone.  

Alberto caught a butterfly mid air, held it to point out its beauty, and let it fly off again. 
The entrance to the long winding path to Alberto's open air studio. 
Alberto points out one of his carvings on the side of the mountain. 

A  National Guard helicopter (click here to read more about the revolution). 
The textured trees standing parallel to Alberto's carvings. 
A sandinista guerilla (FSLN)
Alberto explains a carving of a folk tale.
Over time the earth has begun to add texture to Alberto's sculptures.   
Alberto with his work.