In the world of dance, spatial awareness is everything — a constant consciousness of one’s surroundings, one’s own body, and their relationship through movement.
No one knows this better than Rulan Tangen.
“Nice to meet you. Where are your feet on the ground right now?” she says by way of introduction on our recent call.
Tangen is the founding artistic director of Dancing Earth, a dance company “respectfully based in Ogaa Po Ogeh — occupied Tewa territory known as Santa Fe, NM and Yelamu — occupied Ohlone territory known as San Francisco, CA.”
“I have my feet a little south…
Zahra Marwan’s watercolor paintings are so whimsical and bittersweet, they might make you nostalgic for a place you’ve never been — unless, like her, you’ve also split your life between Kuwait and New Mexico.
Marwan calls her work “Two Desert Illustrations” in reference to the two regions she has called home. She was born on the sandy seashores of Kuwait City, but since age seven, she’s lived among the mountains and mesas around Albuquerque.
Walls often serve to divide people.
For the visionaries of NSRGNTS, however, walls can also bring people together.
The art collective recently unveiled their latest mural at HomegrowNM Trading Post, on the corner of Central Avenue and Morningside Drive SE. “Abya Yala: Indigenous Freeways” depicts a single continuous landscape from south to north, united by an overarching rainbow.
“A lot of people, nowadays, when they think of borders, they think that borders are protecting us,” says Votan Ik, who founded NSRGNTS just over 20 years ago.
As he sees it, however, border enforcement fundamentally harms the land, fosters exploitation, and…
Of all the ties that bind humanity across time and place, textiles may be one of the oldest.
“Weaving is present in most prehistoric or just historic cultures,” says Albuquerque-based textile artist Petra Brown. “Everyone came about it in their own way.”
From tending plants like flax or cotton, to herding sheep — from spinning wool to winding looms of all shapes and sizes — people around the globe have clothed themselves in natural fibers for thousands of years.
Weaving is so fundamental to many lifeways that stories trace the craft’s origins back to our creation or emergence. …
In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer describes “a world full of gifts simply scattered at your feet.” That is, plants like wild strawberries freely offer themselves to anyone who seeks out their tiny red gems.
Kimmerer recognizes plants as beings who participate in a “gift economy.” Their leaves and seeds are “not meant to be sold, only to be given.”
Local plant-lover Erin Garrison shares this worldview so passionately, it’s inspired her life’s work. For seven years running, she and co-founder Trista Teeter have devoted themselves to growing their nonprofit, Food Is Free Albuquerque (FIFABQ).
FIFABQ seeks out…
Molly Pesata is a fourth-generation basket-weaver. At least, this is what she can say for certain, based on her own memories.
“I learned the art of basketry mainly watching my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother,” she recalls. “I’m not sure who my great-grandmother learned from. Probably from her mother. But as far as I know, I’m fourth-generation.”
As the saying goes, her ancestors have woven baskets from plant fibers since time immemorial.
Like the matriarchs who came before her, Pesata is a citizen of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. She lives and works in Dulce, N.M., …
Imagine viewing a photo of trees on your computer.
Now imagine actually finding your way to a riverbank and meandering among the cottonwoods, breathing the scent of damp earth and noticing the sun’s warmth on your skin as it filters through fresh leaves.
There’s no comparison, right?
That same contrast exists in the world of art: A screen’s worth of pixels cannot replicate the experience of actually moving through a gallery, where canvas stretches like skin and light glints off paint and gold leaf.
At Bernalillo County’s Open Space Visitor Center, you can experience it all. Outside, open-air trails wind…
“If you grew up here, you’ve seen a dead thing, you know?”
The question comes from Adri De La Cruz, an artist from the high-and-dry land of New Mexico.
“You’re hiking with your family, and there’s just — a dead thing,” they continue. “It’s really not uncommon when you’re out in the desert.”
Death is indeed everywhere in the desert. It’s in the cracked ground and parched air, the rattle of bones and prick of cactus needles.
De La Cruz wants us to face this death — and, in the process, face life. After all, life is everywhere in the…
New Mexico is famously photogenic — or at least, parts of it are. Tourists flock to the golden adobe of Taos Pueblo. Cameras click at fiery sunsets over mesas. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta touts itself as the most photographed event in the world.
There’s more to this place than sunsets and balloons, though. One young photographer has a keen eye for documenting what others might miss.
Kevin Beltran isn’t just a native New Mexican, he’s Native to the Pueblo of Zuni. After growing up “on the rez,” he studied and worked in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. …
A dozen teenagers laugh as they practice their dance — one of them stumbles, throwing off the choreography. Time to rehearse from the top.
Their dance teacher laughs with them before calling for attention. With only a few weeks left in the semester, their final performance is almost here. Five, six, seven, eight!
At a glance, this might look like any other dance rehearsal at any other school. But this isn’t a school you can glance inside: It’s a state-run youth lockdown facility. The teens wear matching rec clothes, and their class is monitored by corrections staff and security cameras.