Saldivar and Hickman: Ceramic Folk Sculpture

Héctor Saldivar
is an award-winning ceramicist and sculpture artist in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Héctor was born and raised in Mexico City, and although he has spent more than half his life in the United States, his art draws inspiration from the colorful traditions of Mexican craft. At age six, Héctor began making piñatas for Las Posadas celebrations. Since moving to Tennessee, Héctor has been making larger sculptures out of cardboard and papier-mâché, in the tradition of Mexican cartonería. Ever-evolving, Héctor’s art now includes ceramics and recycled material. This multi-media folk art draws from Héctor’s lived experience, the natural world, and the cultural traditions of Mexico.

“The importance of this art form is that people can see something different than they usually see in regular art exhibits,” says Héctor. “At the same time, it promotes my cultural roots and exposes the community to diversity.” Héctor has had solo exhibits at Casa HoLa in Knoxville and has exhibited at the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Latino Artist Exhibit.

As part of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program this year, Ariel Dickman, Héctor’s niece, will be learning her uncle’s unique form of folk sculpture. From Knoxville, Ariel is a high schooler and has been painting for five years.“My uncle is my influencer and role model because of his willingness and love for art,” says Ariel. “I want to work with Héctor because his art shows his love and talent of the Mexican culture. I love the vibrant colors and stories his art shows. Our culture is the inspiration to my uncle’s art, and I would love to learn from him.”

*This team is funded through a special partnership with the South Arts’ initiative In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Art & Culture.