The Distinct Art & Beauty of the Solentiname Islands of Nicaragua

by UNIGLOBE Donaldson Travel - Nicaragua -

Everyone once in a while I come across some place new that I could never have imagined existed. One such place are the Solentiname Islands in Nicaragua. 

I wanted to share this article by Steve Bailey for the NYTimes ("In Lush Nicaragua, Legacy of a Priest.")

Familiar to those interested in primitivist art, scattered across the island are paintings and carvings by local artists, depicting the rich and lush colors of the wildlife. 

Much of this island grew from the passion and vision of Father Cardenal, a native of Grenada, Nicaragua, who "ended up nurturing not just a political consciousness but also a community of artists that is still thriving decades later."

"The first painters were me, my brother Alejandro and José Arana,” Ms. Guevara Silva said of Father Cardenal’s art project, which began in 1967. “He financed the materials and told us to paint what we wanted.” Thus was born Solentiname’s distinctive art style: highly detailed oil and acrylic paintings of idealized rain forests and watery scenes populated by white egrets, blue herons and oropendolas, the black birds whose unusual hanging nests are often seen in the paintings, too. “People discovered we could sell our paintings,” she said, both to visitors as souvenirs of the islands and to collectors interested in primitivist or naïve art."

You can stay at the Albergue Celentiname, the first inn built on the island, originally at the suggestion of Father Cardenal, and visit the distinctly beautiful Church where he held mass. Check out his article for additional photos of this incredible destination. 


And like much of Nicaragua, the island itself is gorgeous. I haven't met anyone to have visited this country and not have returned entirely satisfied with their travel experience.

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