Friday, May 9, 2014

Opening of "Honoring Our Ancestors" at Gaucho Blue Fine Art Gallery, Penasco, NM

Some memories of long ago shimmer with a golden glow than makes one wonder if they really happened. The April 19 opening of the Creation Migration "Honoring Our Ancestors" was such an event. It has that glow already, even though it just happened a few weeks ago. It was a well attended, well received and long to be remembered special event for the project artists as well as the community at large.

Blessing Place

The ancestral "Blessing Place", a collaboration created by the artists for this exhibit, was the center "stage" for the opening ceremonies. Symbolic articles were added to the piece to be inclusive of the major cultural and religious foundations of the region: Picuris, Spanish, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Ugandan, as well as a range of symbols making it's representation more widespread, even universal.

In this chapel-like setting  we were honored by a blessing from Picuris Elder, Cat Tsosie. The buffalo skull was loaned for this exhibit by Cat, and later in the event he presented a talk about "Buffalo" as a meaningful symbol in the lives of his Pueblo, as well as for Native Americans in general. With his natural mix of humor and the sacred, Cat brought many gifts to this special event.

Cat Tsosie

In order to honor the elders from  the local communities, we chose the oldest person from several of the High Road villages. Jerol Arguello, historian, and Miguel Torres of the New Mexico DNA Project greeted the elders or their representative family members. The elders honored for this event, from the eldest to the youngest, were as follows: Lucia Lopez of Chamisal, age 101; Margarita Torres of Truchas, age 100; Abenicio Sanchez of Ojo Sarco, age 95; Tillie Romero of Vadito, age 95; Delia Montoya of Rodarte, age 94; Ofelia Aguilar of El Valle, age 92; Theodore Sandoval of Rio Lucio, age 92; Rudolfo Ortega of Llano de San Juan, age 91, Gabriel Gonzales of Placitas, age 91; Clara Lopez of Las Trampas, age 90 (?); and Rose Allrunner of Picuris, age 85.  Additionally, the well known and well respected community member, Armando Martinez of Penasco, passed away in December of 2013 at the age of 100 years.  We were happy to honor him and his many community contributions during this event.

Theodore Sandoval with Lugarda, his wife of 66 years
As the evening progressed Miguel Torres presented a power point and discussion about DNA. His position in the New Mexico DNA project has prepared him well in the topic.

Following Miguel's presentation Jerol Arguello, an avid researcher of his family's genetic background, told of the long trail undertaken by the early Spanish immigrants and the settling of the land grant of Las Trampas. Jerol is directly descended from these original settlers, specifically of Sephardic Jewish heritage.

Jerol Arguello honoring the elders
 Although the opening officially began at 3PM, people began arriving at 2:30 and by 3:30 the gallery was filled with artists, friends, community members, and families of the honored elders. The place was "abuzz" until closing at 7PM.

Artists from the surrounding communities submitted pieces that spoke of their ancestral stories and/or their migration to New Mexico. In addition a collection of old photographs dating back to the early 1900's is on loan from the historic collection of the Ancianos Community

Miguel Torres, NM DNA Project

Center in Chamisal.  Community and cultural histories were documented by photographs from the community at large, and by two community quilts from a Penasco quilt project of last year.

New works by each of the project artists enlarged and enhanced the issues surrounding identity and sense of place brought to life by this opportunity to "Honor Our Ancestors".

Please enjoy this selection of photos of the  project artists discussing their works and enjoying friends. Also represented are some images of the works of other community art submissions.

Harriette Tsosie with her work

Agu, Betsie, Belinda, Linda, Donna's work

In addition to the above mentioned special guests, contributors and presenters, we wish to express our deep gratitude to Gaucho Blue Fine Art Gallery owners, Nick Beason and Lise Poulsen. Their generous spirits and beautiful gallery provided a rich environment in which this project was able to flourish.

Jean Nichols of Art For the Heart provided unending support as well as the lovely roses for our elders. Thanks to Cindy Alford, Jim Martin, Deborra Berlin and Marlene Santillan for keeping the food available and beautifully presented for guests.

And special thanks to Jim Martin for the amazing photographs he took at the opening event.
We are a community after all!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HONORING OUR ANCESTORS coming to Penasco, NM April 19, 2014

Tsosie, "Bosque in Winter"

The latest incarnation from the Creation Migration group will be an exhibit at the Gaucho Blue Fine Art Gallery in Penasco, NM. We are excitedly working on new artworks that speak directly to the theme of "Honoring our Ancestors", the title of our new show.

Harriette Tsosie continues her work on identity with a further showing of the work from her Grandmother's diaries  In addition she will be showing new encaustic pieces that describe a sense of place in seasonal variations in the Bosque of her SW Albuquerque home.

Edwards, "Memory" detail
Caulton, "A Golden Morning Near Baku"

Belinda Edwards is exploring her relationship with her Mother with a new installation piece. Continuity is achieved by  incorporating the relationship with long ago family of the African motherland. This is in keeping with Belinda's interest in "Mother" as an archetype relating to the "Feminine".

In Donna Caulton's new work she pays homage to the long and arduous migration that brought her family through the changing earth over thousands of years. This is achieved through iconic images in acrylic of animals that may have been seen by migrating ancestors through time and earth event.

Miller-Kusz, "Swing Shift"

Betsie Miller-Kusz is facing new revelations from the Guardian figure that has been the subject of her paintings in recent years. As she continues to bring this ethereal being into visual reality for sharing with the world, Betsie feels both guided and protected by this being. At the same time she is offering the human family the opportunity to feel this protective force through her paintings.

Sharing with us in this very special exhibit will be participating artists and other community members. Works of art as well as family memorabilia, photos, stories and artifacts will be presented. In addition we have prepared an Ancestral Altar, being careful to include items that represent the many ancestors who settled this land. During the exhibit opening, attendees are invited to place items on the altar that pay homage to their ancestry.

The opening event will be from 3 until 7 PM on Saturday April 19, 2014. Special guests will be sharing their gifts of spirit and story in keeping with the Creation Migration: Stories of the Journey themes.

Here is the schedule for opening day:

3:00: Gallery opens
3:15: Blessing: Cat Tsosie, Picuris Elder
          Greetings: Larry Torres, Associate Professor of Languages and Cultures, UNM
3:30: Honors to the Eldest of the Elders from our villages.
4:00: The Picuris Buffalo Herd: Cat Tsosie
4:30: Presentation of first twelve families of Las Trampas: Jerol Arguello,
          researcher and author of A Pioneering Community: A Tribute to Juan De
          Arguello and the Original Families Who Settled the Santo Thomas Apostol
          Del Rio de Las Trampas Land Grant.
7PM: Gallery closes

Gaucho Blue Fine Art Gallery, 14148 State Rd. 75, Penasco, NM 87553
Open April 19, 2014, 3-7PM. 
Beginning April 20, 2014, open Thursday thru Monday, 11AM til 5PM. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Voices of Reconciliation and Peace: Masaru Tanaka and Betsie Miller-Kusz

In August of 2013, Creation Migration painter Betsie Miller-Kusz, and Japanese photographer, Masaru Tanaka, brought their 14 year collaboration, "Peace's New Century Project", to New Mexico.  Because of their shared hopes for the future of a peaceful world, and their personal associations with the atomic attack on Japan, the artists have been collaborating to make images that transcend past disparities between the two countries and open the way for dialogue.

Miller-Kusz's father, as a young graduate student, worked on the Manhattan project and Betsie, now from the Jemez Valley, spent her early months living in Los Alamos. Masaru Tanaka is from Hiroshima Japan. His father, at the age of four, was burned when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. When these two artists met in San Francisco in 1999, they knew immediately they had to collaborate in making images intended to heal this huge divide.

The images they create are collages of Masaru's photographs and Betsie's Earth-protecting spirit.  They elicit in the viewer responses of tranquility and transcendence. The works have been shown in Asia and the United States in venues such as the War Memorial Building in San Francisco, the Mirasaka Peace Museum in Hiroshima and at the United Nations in New York. Finally, after years of legwork, they have made their way to Los Alamos.

The exhibit, shown first in Jemez Springs, was greeted with reverence and respect, with the public participating in a ceremony and memorial alter. On August 6, 2013, at the historic Fuller Lodge exhibit in Los Alamos, contributors from various religious, community and cultural participants expanded the ceremonial aspect of the exhibit into an emotional and transformational experience. In addition to the main exhibit, a special gallery was reserved for the pieces created in Betsie's workshop with local high school students. The students, as representatives of the next generation in Los Alamos, created incredible artworks and poems which speak of great hope for the future.

High School participants with cellist, Jami Seiber and ceremonialist, Jae Agu
 Also from the Creation Migration group, artist Belinda Edwards was largely responsible for organizing the moving opening ceremony. Origami cranes, the world wide symbol of peace, were found throughout the gallery. Participants included both the artists, representatives of international backgrounds and musical tradition, of Native American traditions, of Christian, Hebrew, Buddhist, Islamic and non denominational religions, and artists and poets from Los Alamos High School. This universal group joined in adding to the ceremonial alter and a silent procession carrying candles of peace.

Artists (above, left) Masaru and Betsie.          Below, Masaru's family

An interview with Betsie Miller-Kusz, Belinda Edwards, and ceremony participant Rabbi Jack Shlachter was recorded for you-tube by Santa Fe personality Reverend Phil. This is part of his series about modern day prophets titled "Words of the Prophets".  The video captures the deep respect for peace and love of humanity intended by the Peace's New Century Project.
Please view the entire video at this web address: