Ruben Olguin, Mestizo / American, born 1983
Wood, wire lathe, adobe, hand-foraged clay, reclaimed tin, leather
Overall: 14 13/16 × 11 5/16 × 2 1/16 in. (37.6 × 28.7 × 5.3 cm)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Acquisitions and Preservation of Native American Art Fund
Place Made: United States, North America
Native American: Southwest
Not on view
Inscribed, upper right, in black marker: Santa Clara
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
Form & Relation: Contemporary Native Ceramics, Citrin Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 6, 2021–July 23, 2022.
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