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  Arts around  Rio san Juan:  Solentiname Archipelago    


Arts, Visit to Artists  are part of our trips in Rio San Juan ,  precisely in Solentiname Archipelago.

In the 1970’s, under the leadership of Ernesto Cardenal, priest, poet and former Minister of Culture in the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, a group of fishermen and campesinos developed a school of painting that became known as Escuela Primitivista de Solentiname. This form of art has now achieved international fame.

The school started when Ernesto Cardenal, while traveling in the area for the first time, observed one of the local residents drawing a cup. Impressed by his talent, Cardenal supplied him with paper and colored pencils. Later, he had the noted Nicaraguan painter, Roger Pérez de la Rocha, travel to the area to teach the local people some painting techniques.

By 1974 the campesinos and fishermen of the archipelago of Solentiname were busy painting scenes taken from their daily lives. These paintings were soon exposed in art galleries in Managua, New York, Paris and elsewhere.

Besides depicting their lifestyle and values, the painters incorporated a religious current that had a deep impact on them: liberation theology. For example, the painting of Gloria Guevara, "Cristo Guerillero," drawn in 1975, depicts a savior who is oppressed, like the people with whom he is identified, and who acts, from below, as their liberator. Painting, fighting against oppression and practicing their religion, melt into one unique reality. Between religion and revolution, the distance disappeared.

In Solentiname if we decide for an overnight stay Our lodging will be  at HOSPEDAGE, it is the center and main building of the Community of Solentiname founded by Ernesto Cardenal. The place is occasionally visited by some Adventurers Tourist.

Arts, Painting and Wood carver are all of a tradition here, there is one artist in each house of the small village, ( 25 Houses in total ) some others are living in others close small Islands. Once you start to feel the so special atmosphere of Solentiname you understand why there is so many artists around, living in Harmony with mother Nature.. No cars in the entire Archipelago, Virgin Rain forest, Incredible variety of birds...and Peace, Peace all around....

There is only one place in the World where I had the same feeling of plenitude, it's in Europe precisely in Greece in the monasteries of Mount Athos.

Some Painters became famous and are now living  in  USA  and Europe...Some are to be discover...

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In the museum


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In the Village


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Ernesto Cardenal   

Drawing.jpg (44682 bytes)The Gospel According to Solentiname
by Ernesto Cardenal

Every Sunday, on the Island of Solentiname, a withdrawn oasis on Nicaragua Lake, we hold a discussion with campesinos instead of a sermon on the Gospel. The campesinos’ comments are usually more incisive than those of many theologians, but as guileless as the Gospel itself. This is not odd: the Gospel, or "good news" was written for and by people similar to them.

Some friends advised me not to let these commentaries fade away, but to collect and publish them in a book. This is that book. I first began collecting them by memory and went back as far as possible. Then, in a more pragmatic sense, we used a tape recorder.

Many of these interpretations were offered at church, at Sunday mass - also, in the straw hut, where we held our meetings and our community lunch after mass. We often held our mass and discussion of the Gospel here under the open sky, at other islands, or at a small hamlet by a beautiful river with lush, tropical vegetation.

Every Sunday, we give each attendee a copy of the Gospel. That is, those who can read. We have a few who cannot read - mainly the elders. That’s because they come from islands far from the school. Someone who reads better, usually a younger boy or girl, reads us the chapter that is to be studied. Then, we offer our commentaries line by line.

Thirty-eight islands make up the Solentiname archipelago - some are quite small and only the larger islands are inhabited. There are about a thousand people living there. That makes around ninety families. Homes are typically straw huts that are scattered, one far from the other, on these islands’ beaches. Our community or laity monastery, Our Lady of Solentiname, is situated on the tip of the biggest island. The Colombian poet, William Agudelo, his wife, Teresita, and their two small children, Irene and Juan are part of this community. Also, three youngsters were born on these islands, Alejandro, Elbis and Laureano. Communication with the outside world is not frequent and our meditation is not disturbed in this place. It’s not easy to reach and lies, thank God, far from business and tourism routes.

Not all of the inhabitants on these islands come to mass. Many don’t because they don’t have a boat.

Some don’t because they have lost their devotion to the saints. Others don’t because of the influence of the anticommunist propaganda and perhaps because of fear. Not all of those who come, take part in these commentaries. There are some who speak often.

Marcelino is mystical. Olivia is more theological. Rebecca, Marcelino’s wife, always dwells on love. Laureano relates everything to the revolution. Elbis is concerned with tomorrow’s perfect society. Felipe, another youngster, always has the struggle of the proletariat in mind. Tomás Peña, his dad, cannot read but speaks with great wisdom. Alejandro, Olivia’s son, is a young leader and his comments are usually words of counsel for everybody, but particularly for the young. Pancho is a conservative. Julio Mairena constantly defends equality. Oscar, his brother, always speaks of unity. They and everybody else who speaks often and says important things, and those who seldomly speak but also say important things, and those compañeros like William and Teresita that have participated in these discussions, they are the authors of this book.

It’s more accurately said that the true author of this book is the Holy Spirit that has inspired these commentaries. The campesinos in Solentiname very well know that He is the one who makes them speak. He is the same who inspired the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit living among his people - He is who Oscar would call the spirit of community cohesion, and who Alejandro the spirit of serving others, and Elbis the spirit of the future society, and Felipe the spirit of the struggle of the proletariat, and Julio the spirit of equality and common goods, and Laureano the spirit of the revolution, and Rebeca the spirit of love.

La Esquina del Lago

Hotel Jungle River Lodge in National Park Reserva de vida silvestre  Los Guatuzos,

Bocana de Rio Frio, San Carlos, Rio San Juan, Nicaragua.

Tel  ( 505 ) 88 49 06 00        ( 506 )  88 42 76 73    E-MAIL Click

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