The following people—Eliza Naranjo Morse, Lucy Lippard, Justice Lovato, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez and Ginger Dunnill—werk. By that we mean that their hustle across creative sectors is nothing short of fierce. They bear witness to old and new narratives, center marginalized perspectives, honor communities, work as activists, host fly events and create art in a spectrum of media. Their job titles are many and multifaceted and the labor they perform doesn't often fit neatly into a 9-5 scenario. And yet, what they do and how they create is both brave and beautiful. We see you!
Eliza Naranjo Morse
Lately, Eliza Naranjo Morse has been sewing a lot. Or, to be
precise, she is stitching together pantyhose around her own body and then cutting herself out. In her words, "I am in the process of building myself." Naranjo Morse, an art educator at the Kha'p'o Community School in Santa Clara Pueblo, recently collaborated with Terran Kipp Last Gun (Piikani) at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art on a mural titled Home is Life Journey, a landscape that will one day be inhabited by figures.
Naranjo Morse is also preparing for a May 4 exhibition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque) on the theme of identity, Because It's Time: Unraveling Race and Place in New Mexico. She's also collaborating with the Poeh Cultural Center (Pojoaque) on repatriating Tewa objects, and appears in conversation with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture about how to honor vessels in its collection as "living beings, as blessings that are here and now, but have come to us in strange ways, by being dug up by archaeologists." Naranjo Morse is also one of six Indigenous artists to participate in IMPRINT, an exhibit that kicks off Aug. 14 hosted by the Ralph T Coe Center for the Arts during Indian Market, loosely based on the reproducibility and accessibility of print technologies.
Lucy Lippard is a longtime writer, activist and sometimes-curator. As a writer, Lippard is downright prolific, having published at least 21 books on place, contemporary art and histories of land use. "I fall for places more than I do for people," she says.
This fascination started with her 1997 book The Lure of the Local andcontinued in her 2014 title, Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics and Art in the Changing West. Her latest meditation on the topic is in Pueblo Chico: Land and Lives in the Village of Galisteo, New Mexico, and is forthcoming from the Museum of New Mexico Press. She has lived and worked here since 1993 and has been on the water board, the auxiliary of the fire department, participates in community planning and writes a monthly newsletter.
"It was interesting to go from a completely avant garde city [New York] to a traditional setting," she explains. Despite the differences, or maybe because of them, she has no intention of leaving.
This back-and-forthing between multiple locations is the mainstay of her work: Lippard was an essayist in SITE Santa Fe's inaugural exhibit in 1995, Longing and Belonging: From the Faraway Nearby, and contributed writing to the the 2015 biennial, SITElines: Unsettled Landscapes. Lippard is a staple of the Santa Fe and international arts communities alike.
"When I was growing up, I was always fascinated by the movie Casino with Robert De Niro," lowrider Justice Lovato says. It was the car he drove that caught her eye—a silver Cadillac Eldorado. When Lovato was in her final year of high school, her parents bought her a 1985 Eldorado and parked it outside "like bait," she says, until "she had her diploma in her hand."
After serving in the Navy for five years, Lovato and her husband, Julian, transformed the car into a work of down lowrider art. It's a pale yellow, embellished with burgundy, a color combination that is tribute to the state of New Mexico. It glistens in almost any light, and when you open the door to look at the crushed velvet interior the bling continues. "I'm gonna represent the state, but you're gonna see me coming," she says.
In 2010, the Lovatos founded their own car club, Enchanted Expressions, a moniker that is inscribed on the driver side door. The club now has chapters across the state and country.Lovato even made lowrider history as the first female lowrider artist included in the New Mexico History Museum's 2017 exhibition, Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico.
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez
Alas de Agua Collective supports and centers Native, immigrant, people of color, queer and underrepresented groups in New Mexico. Israel Francisco Haros Lopez is the most vocal member and driving force, a visual artist, muralist, spoken word poet, coloring book creator and activist who also works as Adelante's high school homeless liaison. Haros Lopez believes that "all of the members of our community matter, and when we see that value, we operate differently."
Through the collective, Lopez hosts poetry open mics that have migrated between various locations and in the process morphed into much more expansive events that support poetry, live art, an arts market and professional development. The gathering has become a safe and intersectional space for the emergence of counter narratives, for speaking out against white supremacy and displacement.
Lopez also gathers youth and other artists to create public works of art—six projects in the last year, including at Studio Center of Santa Fe (formerly Warehouse 21) and Casa Familia at St. Elizabeth Shelter. He gets fired up by the potential of murals to be "free museums to tell the people's story," in a format that is "large, colorful, inspiring and consciousness raising." The murals are like eye candy with broad swaths of blue for backgrounds and thick black line work that traces the contours of blocky figures who look part animal part human. The gods and goddesses that once populated Aztec codices come to mind. "With everything I'm trying to do," he says. "I'm wondering what true freedom looks like—land and water rights, home, seeds, sustainability."
Just last fall, Ginger Dunnill, aka DJ Miss Ginger, curated Broken Boxes, an exhibition of 40 artists at form & concept Gallery, based upon her podcast of the same name and backed by a 2016 Fulcrum Fund grant from 516 Arts. In the preceding months, she co-hosted "Dear Patriarchy" at Meow Wolf, featuring Indigenous activist Winona LaDuke, to raise money for Standing Rock's water protectors, as well as the Zapatista Movement based in Chiapas.
A sound, installation and performance artist, Dunnill is above all a collaborator. She and Demien Diné Yazzie also presented a new body of work, BURYING WHITE SUPREMACY, which kicked off at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York in March. Meanwhile, she is the co-organizer with Kim Smith of a new online platform, Indigenous Goddess Gang, the "only resource of its kind to honor a 'Indigenous femme prospective'" Stay tuned for an Indigenous tattoo forum, hosted with Kua'aina Associates and Carolyn Kuali`i, during Indian Market on August 18 and 19. "Decolonizing should be something we're all accountable for," Dunnill says. "We need each other to survive because there are bigger monsters to slay."