Carlotta Boettcher

Photographer
      
Jesus Madrid: Hermit Stone Carver of El Rucio
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Nationality: USA-CUBA
Biography: Carlotta Boettcher was born in Habana, Cuba, in 1945.  She studied philosophy and art history at the University of Madrid from 1963-1968 and printmaking at the Ecole National des Beaux Arts in Paris, France 1968-1971. Self taught initially in... MORE
Public Story
Jesus Madrid: Hermit Stone Carver of El Rucio
Copyright Carlotta Boettcher 2022
Updated Jan 2022
Topics Documentary, Journalism, Latin America, Lifestyle, Photography
Jesus Madrid lived his life in the remote, tiny village of El Rucio, with less than 50 inhabitants, surrounded by pristine nature of Chihuahua, working on the railroad tracks that connected the Sierra Madre to Juarez and which stopped running in the 90s. 
His children had moved away to search for work and by the time I met him his wife had died. Jesus was a man who lived with and off the land his entire life, doing subsistence farming, growing chiles mostly, recycling whatever he found that he could use or transform, and digging for Pre-hispanic antiquities, mostly pottery, plentiful in the region as a result of the Casas Grandes civilization, known as Paquime.

He had no horse, and often walked into the nearest town for groceries. He had built his own adobe home when he married and never slept in the matrimonial bed after his wife's death, covering the bed with plastic shower curtains to protect it from the occasional rainwater leaks that filtered thru the earthen roof, after her death the bedroom had become a shrine to his wife!

Jesus survived by hunting, fishing in the nearby river and creating art by recycling river rocks that he carefully carved with primitive tools creating stone sculptures of the regional animals and stone portraits, often of himself, which he sold to an ocasional visitor, a rare happenstance! A life of adventure, economic survival struggles, and creative entrepreneurship, Jesus Madrid passed away at 73 years of age in 2020.

 
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