Armond Lara hosts a closing reception for his Flying Blue Buffalo installation on Saturday, November 17 from 5 to 7 pm. The Santa Fe artist collaborated with form & concept on this monumental art installation that tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. Inspired by his own family history, Lara dreamed up the winged buffalo as a new symbol of Native survival and resilience.
Santa Fe artist Armond Lara and his collaborator Joseph Riggs discuss the story behind the Flying Blue Buffalo installation on Saturday, August 18, 2-3 pm. The monumental art installation, comprising 77 winged buffalo sculptures, tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. Inspired by his own family history, Lara dreamed up the winged buffalo as a new symbol of Native survival and resilience.
Armond Lara collaborates with form & concept on this monumental art installation that tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. The Santa Fe artist sends 77 hand-painted, cast resin Flying Blue Buffalo sculptures soaring through the gallery’s atrium. Inspired by his own family history, Lara dreamed up the winged buffalo as a new symbol of Native survival and resilience. Each sculpture in the suspended flock is labeled with the name of an abducted child. The installation debuts at a special reception on Friday, August 17, 5-7 pm, on the weekend of Santa Fe Indian Market.
Soul of Nations, a Washington, D.C. and Arizona-based nonprofit that works to uplift Indigenous communities throughout the Americas, presents this juried exhibition of Native teen artists from Southwest reservations. The 15 featured artists all took part in the organization’s Brea Foley Art Program, which awarded three of them with a special residency at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The exhibition opens on the weekend of SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market and offers boundary-pushing aesthetic statements from a new generation of Indigenous artists. The theme of the exhibition is “Honor the Earth.”
Mikhail K. Ganadonegro, Quansha J. Abayta, Maiyah King, Bailey Makai Pete, Deanna Lee, Christine Garcia, Naomi Smart, Kyle Begay, Megan Joe, Rikki Begay, Iona Stevens, Naomi Begay, Josiah Whitesinger, Lehlahni Michelle, Kiara Tom
Opening weekend for Armond Lara‘s Flying Blue Buffalo installation has arrived! On Thursday, August 16 at 5:30 pm, we’re hosting a preview of the installation. Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, a Santa Fe-based scholar who is writing a book on the topic of Native slavery, will speak in our atrium under the installation. This Friday, August 17 from 5 to 7 pm, Lara will appear at form & concept for the official opening reception of the piece. In addition to the installation, a number of Lara’s artworks are on view in the gallery, along with an exhibition of Native teen artists. The final event of the weekend is an artist talk on Saturday, August 18 from 2 to 3 pm, which will take the form of a conversation between Lara and his collaborator Joseph Riggs.
PLEASE NOTE: Seating is first come, first served at this free event. Please arrive early if you need to sit!
Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez of Santa Fe, who is writing a book on the topic of Native American slavery, presents a talk titled Entre Cíbolos Criados: Creativity, Consciousness and Community. The free event is a preview of Armond Lara’s Flying Blue Buffalo installation on Thursday, August 16 at 5:30 pm.
Lara collaborates with form & concept on this monumental art installation that tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. The Santa Fe artist sends 77 hand-painted, cast resin Flying Blue Buffalo sculptures soaring through the gallery’s atrium. Inspired by his own family history, Lara dreamed up the winged buffalo as a new symbol of Native survival and resilience.
Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez
With ancestral connections to both Hispanic and indigenous communities, Dr. Rael-Gálvez was raised working on a farm and ranch stewarded by his family for generations in Costilla, New Mexico. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he completed an award-winning dissertation, “Identifying Captivity and Capturing Identity: Narratives of American Indian Slavery.” He is currently working on the manuscript, The Silence of Slavery. Formerly the State Historian of New Mexico, Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Senior Vice President at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dr. Rael-Gálvez currently is a writer and the founding principal of Creative Strategies 360°, a consulting firm which supports transformative work within communities and organizations, including his present project, an initiative on “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.”
Flying Blue Buffalo Installation
Preview with Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez:
Thursday, August 16, 5:30 pm
Opening: Friday, August 17, 5-7 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, August 18, 2-3 pm
This weekend, when Santa Fe artist Armond Lara sends 77 winged buffalo sculptures into the stratosphere of form & concept’s atrium, he’ll fulfill a long-held dream. The Flying Blue Buffalo installation tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children—including Lara’s grandmother. The Pueblo people called these abducted youths “Lost Bluebirds.” Lara combined this symbol with the buffalo to create the Flying Blue Buffalo, a new icon of Indigenous resilience. Listen to Armond Lara’s interview with Spencer Beckwith on KUNM, and learn more at the links below.
Image: Armond Lara, Flying Blue Buffalo installation.
Soul of Nations
Opening: Friday, August 17, 5-7 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, August 18, 1-2 pm
Soul of Nations, a Washington, D.C. and Arizona-based nonprofit that works to uplift Indigenous communities throughout the Americas, presents this juried exhibition of Native teen artists from Southwest reservations. Inspired by the theme “Honor the Earth,” the participants offer fresh perspectives on Indigenous identity, contemporary culture and the state of the environment. The 15 featured artists offer boundary-pushing aesthetic statements from a new generation of Indigenous creatives.
Image: Kiara Tom, The Y’ell Night Chants, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 in.
Suspended from the ceiling is a herd of blue buffalo, seventy-five of them, flying on wings. The buffalo tell the story of thousands of Native American children who, from the 17th Century through the 19th, were abducted from their families and enslaved on ranches and in homes across the Southwest. The Flying Blue Buffalo installation is the creation of veteran Santa Fe artist Armond Lara, and it’s on view starting August 17 at the Santa Fe gallery, form & concept.
You can listen to two versions of the radio segment on the KUNM website— one that’s 4 minutes and one’s that 7 minutes. Both stories include this gorgeous quote from Armond:
I decided that all I would see was a cloud of blue. I thought it would be a beautiful presentation. That’s the whole philosophy for Navajo people. Walk In Beauty. It has to be in a beautiful way. It doesn’t have to be ugly, even though it is ugly. We can take the pride and the endurance of still being here. Like the buffalo.
Meanwhile, we’re deep in the installation process for Armond’s show. You can see the grid system we’re using in the photo above, which will support all of the sculptures in the piece. Come see it on opening weekend, August 16-18!
“Somehow in my mind, in my being, I felt I needed permission.”
Before carving the original Flying Blue Buffalo, Armond journeyed to Colorado to find a herd in the wild. His encounter with the buffalo gave him the inspiration to begin the ambitious installation and storytelling project.
The Flying Blue Buffalo Project will feature 75 cast resin sculptures crafted under Armond’s supervision. The Installation will debut this August. Support our Kickstarter campaign to learn more about the project and collect exclusive Flying Blue Buffalo artwork.
On Saturday, February 17 at 3 pm, Lara will conduct a panel discussion with Moises Gonzales, Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Sunny Dooley, Kim Trujillo, Joseph Riggs, and Weston Brownlee.
“A herd of anything has much more impact than one.” -Armond Lara
The fundraiser will go towards the creation of a monumental installation of cast resin Flying Blue Buffalo sculptures in the gallery’s atrium, based on a series of wood carvings by Lara. Inspired by the Santa Fe artist’s family history, this project tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. It’s a topic that hit the front page of the New York Times this weekend, in an article by Simon Romero. Here’s an excerpt:
Lenny Trujillo made a startling discovery when he began researching his descent from one of New Mexico’s pioneering Hispanic families: One of his ancestors was a slave.
“I didn’t know about New Mexico’s slave trade, so I was just stunned,” said Mr. Trujillo, 66, a retired postal worker who lives in Los Angeles. “Then I discovered how slavery was a defining feature of my family’s history.”
Mr. Trujillo is one of many Latinos who are finding ancestral connections to a flourishing slave trade on the blood-soaked frontier now known as the American Southwest. Their captive forebears were Native Americans — slaves frequently known as Genízaros (pronounced heh-NEE-sah-ros) who were sold to Hispanic families when the region was under Spanish control from the 16th to 19th centuries. Many Indian slaves remained in bondage when Mexico and later the United States governed New Mexico.
The revelations have prompted some painful personal reckonings over identity and heritage. But they have also fueled a larger, politically charged debate on what it means to be Hispanic and Native American.
Lara’s studies of this little-told history lead to the conception of the Flying Blue Buffalo, a new symbol of Indigenous survival and resilience. The Flying Blue Buffalo Project Kickstarter campaign launched on January 26 and runs through February 28. Mock-ups of the buffalo sculptures will appear at a February 17 open house event, and Lara will convene a panel of history experts to discuss the project and its themes. The installation will debut in form & concept’s atrium on August 17, 2018, and run through November 2018.
Click here to browse Armond Lara’s artwork.