The Circle of Life (And Alien Heads)
Santa Fe artist Emma Bagley contemplates the cycles with new paintings and masks
Regular SFR readers will need no introduction to Santa Fe artist Emma Bagley—she created the cover art for our 2022 Best of Santa Fe issue. A renowned local tattooer and painter, Bagley crafts pieces that are uniquely all her own with a dash of painterly style, a bit of silliness and a whole lot of bold color work. At her upcoming exhibit, A Woman Crawls Forward at Canyon Road’s smoke the moon gallery, she’ll take that to a whole new level across 24 new acrylic-gouache paintings, as well as a series of 40 latex alien masks all playfully dubbed “Invasion.”
In some ways, Bagley’s new show represents a culmination and coming-together of years of study, studio work and tattooing. In others, it feels like the beginning of a new era of prolific output. Either way, materials for the show denote Bagley’s current focus on the cyclical concepts of life, loss, love, death and so on.
“A lot of these pieces came out of the last year and facing loss in my family and found family,” Bagley tells SFR. “It isn’t so much a lifeline study necessarily, but about the cycles of ending and starting again. I think a lot about living in Santa Fe, of being from here my whole life and the idea you can’t step in the same stream twice, but internally, externally, it’s like a spiral, and it comes around to the same things.”
Bagley cites years spent in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles as formative, particularly in how she watched those cities change. Embracing that concept, or at least learning to live with it, upon returning to Santa Fe—a city enamored with tradition—proved meaningful.
“There are growing pains,” she -explains, “but it still has that energy and feeling of home, and there’s love and and loss -attached to that.”
Woman is the first full body of work Bagley has completed since returning home in 2019, and though the paintings will be familiar to those who’ve followed her work, the alien masks of “Invasion” mark a new step.
“I think I’ve been contemplating a lot about being perceived and perception and the anxieties that go along with that,” she says. “It was also an experiment with materials that wound up being a rather large piece. I try to have fun with my work and I hope it’s delightful to look at. I’m not a terribly serious person, either, so I also hope it’s fun for people.” (Alex De Vore)
Emma Bagley: A Woman Crawls Forward Opening: 6-8 pm Friday, Oct. 6. Free. smoke the moon, 616 1/2 Canyon Road, smokethemoon.com
Dead Letter Department
Inevitably as this time of year rolls around, our minds wander to thoughts of the dead. The gloom of autumn and the changing leaves make for quite a combo, don’t you think? But rather than simply pouring one out for the homies this year, might we suggest a workshop from acclaimed poet and writer Janna Lopez? At the upcoming Day of the Dead Loved One & Ancestor Letter Writing class, Lopez will help folks pen a missive to a lost loved one for placement on an ofrenda, and she’s providing all the assistance, writing materials and gourmet snacks to make it happen. Please note you must register and pay a day before the workshop, but if you miss this week’s you’ll have more chances throughout the month. (ADV)
Day of the Dead Loved One & Ancestor Letter Writing: 10 am-noon Thursday, Oct. 5. $57. Janna Lopez Writing Studio, (505) 230-0683
We see you, Santa Fe, and we know you’re aching for the musical styles of the world, just not in that gross found-it-at-Starbucks way. Fret not, for Niger’s Bombino has you covered. Hailing from the nomadic Ifoghas tribe, the Tuareg guitarist knows a thing or two about strife and peril (his online bio is harrowing to say the least) and the political bent to his gorgeous songs tells the tale. He’s self-taught and stalwart, a documentary subject and survivor with roots in African sounds, but rock and blues and folk. His machine kills fascists, we bet, and he’s really just getting started, at least insofar as American audiences go. Find Bombino at Tumbleroot this week. (ADV)
Bombino: 7:30 pm Sunday, Oct. 8. $20. Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery, 2791 Agua Fría St., (505) 303-3808
Nothing Like the First Time
It might surprise you to learn that the forthcoming Honoring Native Nations Powwow slated for Monday, Oct. 9—Indigenous Peoples Day—is the first-ever on the Plaza. We know it surprised us, especially since the Santa Fe Indigenous Center’s event just feels like the kind of thing we’d been doing around here forever. Let’s make up for lost time, then, with a whole mess of goings-on during the gathering. For example, champion fancy dancer Jhane Myers (Comanche and Blackfeet) will perform. We’ll also hear from MC James Edwards (Pawnee), catch an inter-tribal parade and, if we’re smart, find something glorious to eat. Dang, we should’ve done this a long time ago. (ADV)
Honoring Native Nations Powwow: 11 am-4:30 pm Monday, Oct. 9. Free. Santa Fe Plaza, 100 Old Santa Fe Trail, santafeindigenouscenter.org