Staring-out from this piece of 1970’s Modernist ceramics is an alligator’s unblinking eye—the work of world-famous Ecuadorian artist Eduardo Vega. Born in Cuenca, Ecuador in 1938, Vega was steeped in his country’s long ceramics-making culture well before studying art in Spain and France. After returning to his home country in the 1960’s, he was commissioned to design and build public ceramic tile installations in his home town. Although Cuenca has a rich pre-Columbian pottery history, it was also an important arts incubator after the arrival of Spaniards in the 16th Century. A style of art, sometimes called the Quito School, developed and made Ecuador the center of the Colonial South American art world. The Quito Style adapted European genres and (largely religious) themes, imbuing them with a distinctly South American flavor. This aesthetic paved the way for a more-widespread style which would be adopted by some Western artists into the mid-Twentieth Century.
Eduardo Vega finds inspiration in the plants, the animals and the human culture of his home village (and his country and the region surrounding it). The piece above is a case-in-point: not only does the alligator’s eye stare from the folds of its eyelid, but the creature’s tile-like scales are inscribed into the body of the vase, as well.
Please come into the shop to see this impressive vase in-person. Better yet, stop by Vega’s studio the next time you find yourself in Cuenca, Ecuador.
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