San Juan Bautista

Ruben Olguin, Mestizo / American, born 1983



Wood, wire lathe, adobe, hand-foraged clay, reclaimed tin, leather

Overall: 15 1/4 × 11 7/16 × 2 3/16 in. (38.7 × 29 × 5.5 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Acquisitions and Preservation of Native American Art Fund



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name

Mixed Media

Research Area

Native American

Native American: Southwest

Mixed Media

Not on view


Inscribed, upper right, in black marker: San Juan / Bautista


In his Retablos series, Ruben Olguin borrows from the Spanish colonial tradition of retablo painting, popularized through the spread of Catholicism in what is currently known as Mexico. Whereas traditional retablos are devotional paintings commonly depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a holy saint, Olguin complicates these forms by instead mapping Indigenous territories and waterways onto the surface.

In these retablos, Olguin maps the site of three Spanish missions in the regions now called California and Mexico, questioning the legitimacy of national and state borders established through colonialism and foregrounding those whose homelands were drastically altered by non-Indigenous settlement.

From the 2021 exhibition Form & Relation: Contemporary Native Ceramics, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art and Morgan E. Freeman, DAMLI Native American Art Fellow

Course History

ANTH 11/NAS 11, Ancient Native Americans, Madeleine McLeester, Fall 2020

PORT 8, Brazilian Portraits, Carlos Cortez Minchillo, Winter 2021

LACS 22.11, Latinx Intergenerational Literature, Marcela di Blasi, Spring 2021

ANTH 18, Research Methods in Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2021

ANTH 55, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Spring 2021

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Sienna Craig, Winter 2022

Exhibition History

Form & Relation: Contemporary Native Ceramics, Citrin Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 6, 2021–July 23, 2022.


The artist, Ruben Olguin, Albuquerque, New Mexico; sold to present collection, 2020.

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