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Nelson Gutierrez

2024 Tennessee Fellow for Visual Arts

A man looking into the camera

Recipient Information


Memphis, Tennessee

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

Grant Amount


Born in Bogota, Colombia, Nelson Gutierrez lives and works in Memphis, TN, and holds a BA degree in Fine Art from the Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogota Colombia, and a MA degree in Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London UK. He worked as a professor in the Fine Arts Departments at the Universidad de los Andes and the Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano, in Bogota, Colombia. 

In 2002 he moved to the USA where he has kept developing and showing his artwork in addition to working as a Teaching Artist for different organizations such as Arts for Learning in Miami, FL, and Children’s Studio School in Washington, DC. During this time, he also attended the Corcoran College of Art where he did coursework in the MFA program.

His work has been exhibited around the US and also internationally in Colombia, the UK, and Switzerland, and it is part of private and public collections. He lives and works in Memphis, TN where he has served as an Exhibition Committee Member for the Brooks Museum of Arts, an Artist Advisory Council Member at ArtsMemphis, and an Official Advisor for Locate Arts in Nashville, TN.  

He is the Founder of Future Project Art, formerly 2021 Projects, a Contemporary Art collective, dedicated to increasing the awareness for, appreciation of, and involvement in, the visual arts in the Mid-South.

Artist Statement

Exploring the psychological and social implications of conflict, my work is composed of two and three-dimensional pieces, conceptual objects, and installations that reflect current sociopolitical issues as well as personal memories related to history and past events. Feelings of collective longing, fear, grief, resilience, and hope are expressed through a range of mediums, speaking to our shared humanity in a relatable way.

My practice, built upon years of research, personal observations, and experimentation with various artistic mediums, revolves around a central theme: the enduring struggle of individuals and communities for a better life that includes resilience, hope, and the search for common ground. The work is informed by personal and collective memories, people I have met, environments I have inhabited, and events that have impacted my life and therefore my work throughout my career.  

Based on forced displacement and global migration, the series of work titled “A Journey into the Shadows” uses tridimensional cutout drawings and different sources of light and shadows. This body of work serves as an exploration into the profound impact of displacement on individuals and communities worldwide. Through this series and others, my aim is to evoke a sense of shared humanity that resonates with viewers on a deeply personal level.