Mario A Mutis R is an indigenous American ceramic artist currently living in Gainesville, Florida. Born in Bogota, Colombia Mario moved in 2002 alongside his father and sister to the United States as a refugee to reunite with his mother. From an early age Mario showed a preference to work with his hands specifically in clay, this passion became his desired profession and in 2012 graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Wanting to further his relationship with clay, Mario enrolled in the Ceramic graduate program at the University of Florida where he was able to push every aspect of his creativity. Currently Mario teaches at Santa Fe College in Gainesville as the sculpture faculty. He is also working with his indigenous community in Bogota, where they hope bring to the surface the importance of their culture heritage and create an education center where ceramic arts and practices can act as cultural empowerment, where post-colonial theory can be put into practice.
Through the use of my traditional Andean Muysca concepts, patterns, and alongside the conjunction of everyday events, I explore the idea of cultural reconstruction and preservation. My work involves the exploration and recreation of my native visual language as well as reclaiming vital relationships between humans and other outside systems. I am influenced by my traditional Muysca aesthetics, past and current issues of the Americas, and influential figures that strive for equality and change in the Americas.
Using functional ceramic sculptures I create relationships that allow the viewer to become a participant in my work. These works take shape in large size functional figurative sculptures as well as traditionally decorated drinking bowls called totumas. I use symmetry as both a spiritual means of expressing an aesthetic that guides my work.
Through my art I seek to preserve as well as to help grow my cultural legacies in a contemporary setting, whether it is by story-telling, performance, music or language. Much like our cosmovision and myself, the work that I create does not belong in the past; it lives in a very real and tangible present.