Revolutionary Women- An artist led social justice studio
On June 10th sheri crider launched a youth studio led by important regional artists to take on the serious task of creating a major public art work that describes a region’s complicated history beyond a 1950s tourist image of Albuquerque.
Nani Chacon, Grace Rosario Perkins, Andrea Deleon, and sheri crider led the the first six week in a studio that focused on discussions on race and representation while visiting critical sites as a backdrop to create the core images to represent the complex history of this region. The second intensive studio focused on system impacted youth to create their own contribution to the mural while executing final design choices and installation of the work.
ARTWORK FOR PANELS
There is more to New Mexico than our stunning desert sunsets and the myth of our tri-cultural identity in which Natives, Anglos, and Hispanics have lived in complete harmony. The true history of our people and land is one of complex identities, buried histories, struggle, and change.
Created by a team of professional artists—in collaboration with seven youth artists Sekai Berry, Anjelica Abeita, Anila Marks-Lopez, Melinda Modisette, Dani Tena, Grace Archibeck and Magdalena Ramos-Mullane, ALBUQUERQUE represents a nuanced view of the region through imagery of the past and present.
The 50-foot mural is reminiscent of the bold graphics of a mid-century postcard. But instead of writing home about the bucolic scenes of the Northern New Mexico mountains or the myths of monolithic Indigenous peoples and culture, this piece of airmail tells the stories of the Pueblo Revolt—an organized uprising of multiple Indigenous tribal nations, of a miner strike in southern New Mexico in 1950, of Blackdom—New Mexico’s first black settlement, and, most presently, of the death of a transgender woman at the hands of ICE in 2018, and more.
ALBUQUERQUE, invites passengers who have just touched down in the Land of Enchantment to imagine a place that is more than turquoise jewelry, hot air balloons, and green chile stew, by examining the complicated history of Tiwa Land. – Gabrielle Uballez
1680, Acrylic on Arches paper, 29X41, 2020
The Pueblo Revolt was the first revolution to take place against a colonizing entity in the so-called Americas. It was an organized effort amongst multiple Indigenous tribal Nations led by Popé and other Indigenous Leaders. This revolution was an orchestrated ambush that was communicated between multiple tribal nations, The result of this drove out Spanish Colonizers for 12 years. This Revolution reinstated cultural practices, language and governance for indigenous Peoples. The surviviance of indigenous people today and our culture is a result of this revolution. The Pueblo revolt is a significant event of New Mexican history that is inclusive of the people all across the state. This information and historical Revolution and its impact, remains largely excluded from teachings within our school systems.
Nanibah “Nani” Chacon, is a Diné (Navajo) and Chicana artist. Most recognized as a painter and muralist, but expands across disciplines including illustration and installation. Her most notable works have been with in the public arts sector, in which she has a cumulative experience of over 20 years. The focus of her work includes the integration of socio-political issues effecting women and indigenous peoples. Creating Murals and large-scale public works, facilitates the content of her work as well as personal philosophy that art should be accessible and a meaningful catalyst for social change.
GRACE ROSARIO PERKINS
Trans Revolution, Acrylic on Arches paper, 2020
Trans Revolution, Acrylic on Arches paper, 29X41, 2020
After compiling research on queer histories, people who found themselves here, and statistics and key dates of laws changing that would ultimately benefit queer and trans people (many often too late), I realized that this image of a woman protesting outside the Albuquerque ICE office holding a sign with this phrase instead embodied how we should navigate the past, present, and future. The original painting was dusted in copal and pure blue pigment. Material becomes protection and intention becomes key. This gesture is a motivator and reminder for the work we’ve done, are doing, and the work that is still undone.
About the work: I distilled this phrase from a sign to protest the death of Roxana Hernandez, a transgender woman who died in ICE custody in 2018. After compiling research on queer histories, people who found themselves here, and statistics and key dates of laws changing that would ultimately benefit queer and trans people (many often too late), I realized that this image of a woman protesting outside the Albuquerque ICE office holding a sign with this phrase instead embodied how we should navigate the past, present, and future. The original painting was dusted in copal and pure blue pigment. Material becomes protection and intention becomes key. This gesture is a motivator and reminder for the work we’ve done, are doing, and the work that is still undone.
Based in Albuquerque but having spent most of her life moving between city centers, the Navajo Nation, and the Gila River Indian Community, Grace Rosario Perkins is interested in disassembling her personal narrative and reassembling it as one that layers words, objects, faces, and signifiers built from cultural dissonance, language, and history. Grace has lectured at venues such as Macalester College, Mills College, Pomona College, UC Santa Barbara, Occidental College, the San Francisco Public Library, Real Time and Space Oakland, and the Museum of Arts and Design NY. Her lectures centralize biography, time, collaborative practice, and material. She has been an artist-in-residence at Facebook HQ, ACRE, Varda Artists Residency, Sedona Summer Colony, White Leaves, Kala Art Institute, and nominated for an United States Artists Fellowship, a SFMOMA SECA Award, a Liquitex Painter’s Residency, and the Tosa Studio Award at Minnesota Street Project. She is currently a recipient of the Fulcrum Grant to support the launch of a risograph press and art gallery opening 2021.
Empire, Oil on Arches paper, 2020
EMPIRE references the miner strike in southern New Mexico in 1950. The strike was initiated by miners and their families to fight discriminatory pay and housing facilities. The local labor union in Bayard, New Mexico won the dispute 2 years later, securing better pay and housing for its Mexican American workers. Empire exists as a reminder for us all to advocate for equity, in our socio-economic systems which are inherently unequal and racist.
Andrea (Dre) De Leon is an oil painter living and working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She grew up in the four corners area and was homeschooled until the age of 13. De Leon taught herself how to draw and paint as a young child, and created a mural for the local elementary school when she was 17. She attended the University of New Mexico and earned her BFA in Painting in 2011, earning departmental honors and graduating Magna Cum Laude.
De Leon’s current work revolves around capturing stillness. Her works are a way for her to understand the world and her own inner workings through time spent painting and reflecting.
On Our Honor, Acrylic paint, linocut print on arches paper, 29×41, 2020
The piece honor’s Dwight Duran and the thirty three men killed in the Santa Fe Prison Riot in 1980. Duran was being held in solitary confinement in 1976 when he smuggled a 99 page handwritten civil lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.
The document became known as the Duran Consent Decree. This important piece of legislation gave individuals critical gains in fighting inhumane conditions inside the detention centers across the country for over three decades.
Bisti! , colored pencil on arches, 29×41, 2020
I have lived in Albuquerque for my entire life and in those 18 years have I known almost everything about Albuquerque’s history. Working on this project I kept a mind set of ‘what don’t the people of Albuquerque know already?’ I kept looking back and finally I realized I wasn’t looking far enough. I had to think, what was older than reservations, than Pueblo’s, older than settlements? I soon got inspired by my favorite childhood memories; DINOSAURS! But I had to plan this out accordingly and not just draw the signature T-rex. Luckily I had volunteered at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and learned about our state’s fossils. Coelophysis is a frequent find in New Mexico so it was an easy decision to add it into the piece. However, it was a small dinosaur and I still had a lot of space to fill. Thankfully I had enough space to add a very rare specimen of tyrannosaurus found in New Mexico; Bistarhieversor sealeyi, also known as the Bisti Beast. Discovered by Dr. Thomas Williamson, this specimen was unique since Bisti Beast skeletons were hard to come by, especially ones that were intact. To Dr. Williamson’s luck he had found a skeleton that was in the best condition to do more studies. I wasn’t around in the Cretaceous but fossil’s and animals from before mankind was a big part of my past; it was part of Albuquerque’s past too.
Zia Pueblo, colored pencil on paper, 29×41, 2020
I am from Zia Pueblo. My piece is on the Zia Pueblo culture. So first, on the left at the top is a green headboard and it represents the women of Zia Pueblo. Every year we have a feast and every girl that dances always has one. The headboard gets passed onto the next, when a grandma or mom gets done dancing.
The Kachina’s on the left bottom are very traditional and very sacred to the Native Americans. In the middle is a Kachina that is well known from a different tribe. The other Kachina that is hiding is Zia’s Pueblo Kachina. I put it to the side because to this day everything that is ours is very sacred and I want to keep it like that.
The Zia sun symbol represents us (Zia Pueblo). The bottom is mountains and black trees black covering the mountains. I cherish the mountains and it’s very sacred to Zia Pueblo. Two different clouds one is the three bubble cloud; and that’s how we usually draw our clouds. I put the other one there too because that’s how most of our eyes see clouds. In the middle there’s a lighting that separates it. I put it like that because lighting usually does that to things at the bottom of the lightning is an arrowhead. The arrowhead shows that I’m protected as I’m wearing it. Arrowheads are also very sacred and traditional. I wanted to share my piece to everyone so thank you for everyone who took the time to read this.
The appropriation of the Zia symbol (awaiting full description)
Anila Marks Lopez – Anlia has lived in New Mexico most of her life and feels a deep connection to New Mexican land, culture, and communities. Art has given her the opportunity to connect to all kinds of people with different backgrounds and stories whether it be through paper design at her synagogue, art classes at school, or landscapes of her home in the South Valley.
Blackdom was New Mexico’s first black settlement. In the early 1900s Francis Boyer, who was fleeing threats of the Ku Klux Klan, walked over 2,000 miles to Roswell New Mexico where he founded the black community. Years after Francis Boyer’s arrival, Blackdom would serve as a prosperous society for black people who wished to live secluded from a world that oppressed them. Blackdom represented a place of freedom. Black people created a space for themselves where they could flourish without racism. Blackdom was independently successful and sustainable. It was a black kingdom. Now all that remains of Blackdom is the plaque of remembrance, but this story deserves acknowledgment. That is why I have decided to focus my letter on its’ history – to show that we were here, that we are here, and will remain here.
Lowrider culture and route 66 (awaiting full description)
Melinda loves art because it’s powerful. It illustrates a perspective of the world and just a few colors can change someone’s entire perspective of life which in a way changes the whole world itself.
This painting is a depiction of the native wildlife in New Mexico. The native plants and animals in New Mexico are a vital part of our environment and are a large part of what makes New Mexico so beautiful. In particular, our state bird, the roadrunner, is unique to New Mexico. Frequently seen running around throughout New Mexico, the roadrunner’s unique appearance is hard to go unnoticed.
Grace is a 17 year old high school senior. Her interest in art has stemmed from growing up surrounded by the culture and creativity in New Mexico. Her art mainly consists of acrylic paintings of photographs she takes around New Mexico.
The water of the Rio Grande (just one of its many names) stands as an evermoving force of continuance, community, and life. Acequias are a human handprint on this mechanism of survival, an indigenous technology that has endured through generations of changing language, culture, and government.
New Mexico has the longest continuously traceable history of human water use within the country, and as such these systems are both a powerful testament to this land’s past as well as a symbol of its future.
Although control over this resource has repeatedly been weaponized, water nevertheless evades control, border, and restriction through the necessity of community access. This network of connectivity throughout our city allows us to observe our collective attachment to land as a body; a force that reciprocally gives as we give back. As such, a right to this water is intrinsically bound to a right of existence and belonging.
Magdalena is a rising junior at Vassar College studying Art History and the way in which Art intersects with community and making alike. She feels lucky to have grown up in Albuquerque surrounded by powerful acts of creation and healing, especially during a time where collaborative making is more vital than ever.