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Ceramic Artist - Tiburcio Soteno Fernández

Ceramic 'tree of life'

Tiburcio Soteno Fernández belongs to a large and important family of ceramic artists. Born in 1952 in the town of Metepec, Tiburcio learned his skills in early childhood.

This autobiographical scene shows Tiburcio as a small boy, dressed in yellow. Along with his parents and siblings, he is surrounded by brightly painted figurines and toys such as whistles and money banks.

Tiburcio specializes in making clay sculptures known as 'trees of life'. Extremely fragile, these often take a narrative form. The scene opposite is a detail from a metre-high 'tree of life'.

According to Tiburcio, the idea for the 'tree of life' originated with his mother, Modesta Fernández. In the 1940s she started to model representations of Adam and Eve with a tree in the Garden of Eden. Tiburcio reproduces an early example here.

History inspires many of Tiburcio's 'trees of life'. Mexico's national emblem is an eagle perched on a prickly pear with a serpent in its beak. This symbol commemorates the founding of the Aztec capital which became Mexico City under Spanish rule.

The black-clad figure is Miguel Hidalgo, parish priest and national hero. His rallying cry and call to arms led eventually to Mexican Independence in 1821. Hidalgo is shown with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico.


Select one of the links below to learn more about Tiburcio and his art.