Robert Rivera

Mimbres Turtle Gourd Pot 1988 | 392.16.06
  Through his artistic ability, Robert transforms the lowly gourd into an object of beauty, power and symbolism. I get a lot of inspiration from the Native American people, but most of the pieces come directly out of my own head. Every gourd is different. I can walk up to one and instantly see what would look good with it.”

He loves the old designs prevalent in Native American culture–prehistoric and historic–especially the Anasazi, Hohokam and Mimbres bird and animal designs which he incorporates into his gourd pots and rattles.

The gourds are stitched, etched, cut, broken, scorched, sandblasted, dyed and wrapped. They are adorned with yucca fiber, suede, buckskin, raffia, African beads, shells, heishi from the Santo Domingo Pueblo, inlaid turquoise, willow sticks, horsehair, turkey feathers, cloth, snake skin and tablita headresses.

Robert was probably the first to use gourds as a fine art medium in a contemporary southwestern fashion. Robert says, “I am not the first person to recognize the beauty of gourds. Gourds were probably the first utensils of mankind, and have been found in tombs around the world. The Indians have been using them for centuries in many utilitarian ways, for scraping and shaping pottery vessels, as well as for ceremonial purposes as rattles and even kachinas.”
© 2017 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist