Joel Gaitan 

Ríos de Agua Viva 

Aug 19, 2022
- Sep 18, 2022

at The Living Room, East Hampton

12:00 AM

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FDP presents Ríos de Agua Viva by artist Joel Gaitan. The title, inspired by his religious upbringing, is deeply rooted in Gaitan's beliefs and Nicaraguan family customs. Translated from the biblical verse (Juan 7:38), "Rivers of living waters will flow within believers, showered with the Holy Spirit." Gaitan's work studies the matters of self-identity, sexuality, and ancestral lineage by celebrating life, death, and the afterlife.

Nine of the sculptures in the exhibition represent portals to the afterlife. Each piece is an offering, protected by a storyline within the portal or directly on the vessel. Themes include memories, dreams, transformation, and lust. Playful personalities arise from each vessel, gracing us with an attitude that is both poignant and tender. All are uniquely titled. "Nicoya" is an exaggerated self-portrait that features a nameplate necklace which is the nickname for someone from Nicaragua, and "Tapuda" is a word used to describe the town gossiper.

The pieces are hand built using traditional clay techniques. Gaitan celebrates all the bodies he has always been surrounded with, whether big, small, or lumpy. The red-toned terracotta sculptures are fired with gold luster glazes, magnifying areas of importance.

Gaitan, raised within religion, still carries the music, verses, and lifestyle with his interpretation. From forgotten tongues to erased cultures, Joel keeps a sacred tradition from Nicaragua & Central America alive within a colonized world through his distinctive storytelling.