As a child growing up in Mexico City, Jade Leyva read Gabriel García Márquez and her imagination took on the sheen of his magical realism—fantastic images that existed at once in reality and metaphor. Her paintings today hover between the two: women with flowers and bees in their braids or nests on their heads or birds peeking out of a hollow in their chests.
"When people view my work, I like them to feel a connection to nature and with each other. Even though it could be a Native woman from Mexico, I want people to be able to connect with that image at a deeper level," Leyva says. "I use sacred elements; not religious, but designed to stir up people's feelings about unity."
Opening this week at Mill Contemporary is Leyva's newest exhibition, alongside the Colorado-based landscape painter Cheri Vilona, who works in oils and abstractions.
Palin Wiltshire, a representative from the gallery, says Vilona's new work for the show is unusually colorful. "I think it's a really nice contrast to Jade's representational work, that's also very colorful, vibrant and full of life," Wiltshire says. New Mexican band Lone Piñon plays at the opening.
Leyva, meanwhile, shows work of all sizes, and much of it is brand new. In addition to painting, she advocates for seed preservation, and recently completed 14 community murals made of seeds. Not coincidentally, corn and bees are two central motifs in her work. In Southern Mexico, she explains, "entire cycles of the year go on around—people's lives revolve around—corn." As for the bees, she believes in "showing their royalty, because we depend on them, so we should be submitting ourselves to understanding that they're way superior." She paints their wings to look like lace.
"I feel very honored, as a Mexican immigrant, to share my culture and my work, and to share that people from other places, we also can beautify this country," Leyva tells SFR. "We can have so much to offer. We are here to be able to offer our work and make beauty and better our communities."
Jade Leyva and Cheri Vilona:
5 pm Friday July 6.
702 1/2 Canyon Road,
Let it Marinate, Let it Slide
There are distinct anti-authoritarian sentiments in many smaller communities of New Mexico, and Madrid is no exception—so perhaps this is why there's no better place to turn a celebration of American imperialist history into a celebration for the need for even more revolution. Plus, any day with an excuse to party is when Madroids show up in force. Bring lawn chairs and water pistols to watch the parade, which features everything from backhoes to vintage cars and fire trucks from East Mountains communities, to chickens in strollers and dressed-up alpacas. Stick around after and wander the main drag, make some friends, buy some art, have a marg at the Shaft or some grits at the Hollar, and enjoy being free—at least for an afternoon. (Charlotte Jusinski)
Independence Day Parade:
Noon Wednesday July 4.
Town of Madrid,
Chain of Cool
It's been a minute since guitar-slingin' troubadour Anthony Leon packed up and moved to Florida, and we've felt the void left by his band The Chain. A raucous and decidedly more punk take on country and Americana, Leon's outlaw rock style pushes the band into this strange no-man's-land of raw and heavy-hitting yet vulnerable and relatable. Let's welcome him back with gusto, then, at a totally free Railyard appearance this weekend. For those of us who've been following Leon for years to those who just need an excuse to blow off a little steam, this is the don't-miss show of the week and then some. Escape on a Horse opens.
(Alex De Vore)
Anthony Leon and the Chain:
7 pm Saturday July 7.
Market and Alcaldesa Streets,
As anyone whose ever walked across the Plaza can tell you, it doesn't have to be Indian Market to catch a glimpse of well-crafted Indigenous arts. Beneath the Palace of the Governors' portal lies a year-round group of sellers who show up rain or shine, and now they're inviting the next generation of artists and craftspeople to show their wares. At the Young Native Artists Summer Show and Sale, find the work of the children and grandchildren of longstanding sellers associated with the Portal Program. See what they've been cooking up while you spend a couple bucks and kick off a love affair with collecting. (ADV)
Young Native Artists Summer Show and Sale:
10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday July 8. Free.
Palace of the Governors courtyard,
105 W Palace Ave.,