Born in 1952 in Viña del Mar, Chile, José “Nacho” Cartagena arrived in Canada in October 1976 as a political refugee, taking up residence in Thompson, Manitoba, and later in Toronto. He currently lives in Pickering, Ontario.

Although mostly self-taught, he studied for a brief period at the School of Fine Arts in Viña del Mar. His art evolved over time influenced by the works of several Chilean sculptors and, more recently, native Canadian artists whose spirituality is reflected in many of his wood sculptures.

Nacho has developed a very unique cork-based technique for which he has received high accolades from art critics and the public alike, as well as several prizes. His artwork primarily depicts his interpretation of classic urban landscapes and landmarks from his native Chile as well as Canada and Cuba.

Although most of his sculptures are held in private collections, either commissioned pieces or gifts to friends, or have been donated for fund-raising events, he has presented his work at several art shows in Canada and Cuba where he has been participating yearly since 2007 in the international workshop and exhibit “Evento de Ramón” and the “Ojos del Alma” (Eyes of the Soul) project for visually impaired children.

Most recently, Nacho was awarded the President’s Mention Award at the prestigious Florence Biennale in 2013, and both the People’s Choice and Honorable Mentions Awards at Visual Arts Mississauga exhibits in 2013 and 2012. He currently resides in Canada.

Jose "Nacho" Cartagena
Jose "Nacho" Cartagena, Sculptor