Sculpture Student Ruben Guzman Raises Global Awareness With Art
Art has the power to inspire and motivate people around the world to take action and work toward a
greater good. Ruben Guzman seeks to do just that through their sculptural entry in The Cradle
Project. Ruben, along with his colleague Lucia Hye Yoon Joo, built a cradle from natural
resources to symbolize the different parts of the earth.
Already an established artist in Mexico, Ruben came to Academy of Art University to pursue an
MFA in Sculpture and learn new ideas, techniques and materials. He was drawn to the Academy’s
School of Sculpture because of its emphasis on technical skills.
“I needed more time at the studio working with the materials – definitely a hands-on
experience,” he recalled.
Ruben learned about The Cradle Project from the School of Sculpture as well as a contact from
the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. He saw it as the perfect opportunity to collaborate
with Lucia Hye Yoon Joo whose work he had long admired.
“The shape and materials she uses are similar to some of my works so the idea of
participating together in a project was set when we learned of The Cradle Project,” he said.
The Cradle Project is a fundraising art installation designed to represent the plight of
children who have been orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Artists from around
the world have filled an abandoned warehouse in Albuquerque, NM with cradles to promote awareness
and raise financial support.
Ruben and Lucia used recycled materials – mainly burlap, stones and natural fibers – create
their cradle. They constructed the sculpture visualizing Mother Earth as a giant cradle that
protects and nurtures. They created two arms and hands. One had is holding the other and both are
holding a stone.
The artists strive to symbolize the different parts of the earth in the cradle. For example,
one rock comes from the summit of Mt. Everest while another from the summit of El Capitan in
Yosemite. They positioned the hands in the traditional Zen meditation form.
“We want to say that it is possible to communicate and touch another human soul using
recycled materials and we want to point out how precious this big cradle called Mother Earth is.”