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!
Later this month, when Armond Lara sends 75 winged buffalo sculptures into the stratosphere of form & concept’s atrium, he’ll fulfill a long-held dream. Lara has been depicting buffalo in his artwork for years, but more recently they’ve turned blue and sprouted wings. The Flying Blue Buffalo series is a reference to the Santa Fe artist’s family history: his grandmother, who was Navajo, was kidnapped as a small child and forced into servitude by a Mexican family. Across three centuries of Spanish, Mexican and American rule, thousands of Native children were similarly enslaved as household servants or field hands.
The Pueblo people called these abducted youths “Lost Bluebirds,” a symbol that Lara combined with the buffalo to create a new icon of Indigenous resilience. He dreamed up a massive installation of 75 winged buffalo sculptures, which came to fruition through a Kickstarter campaign and 3D printing technology. We’re hosting a preview of the installation on Thursday, August 16, featuring a talk by Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez of Santa Fe. The installation opens with a reception on Friday, August 17, and Lara conducts an artist talk on August 18.
“My grandmother didn’t talk much, but if she did talk, you listened,” says Lara. He’s known the story of his grandmother’s abduction for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that he learned how common the practice was. “My sister was doing genealogy research on the family, and she found a list of all the Native American kids who had been ‘adopted’ by Mexican families in the Four Corners area,” says Lara. “It dawned on me, whoa, this is really widespread. That’s when I started asking other people about it.” He learned about the kidnapping and enslavement of an enormous number of Native American children over several centuries—from the 1600’s when the Spanish arrived, through the period of Mexican Independence, until the late 1800’s under the government of the United States. A number of Lara’s close friends revealed that they too had ancestors who were taken.
For Lara, this growing web of stories reminded him of his grandmother’s resilience, which has been an enduring source of inspiration. “I looked to my grandparents for guidance. The strongest voice was my grandmother’s voice,” Lara says. “She didn’t talk about it, she just did it. If she needed something, she’d make it. If she needed a robe, she’d weave one. I really admired that quality.” He dreamed up an art installation and storytelling project that might communicate this ethos, and inspire people to learn more about their heritage. A series of five winged blue buffalo marionettes that Lara carved from wood over a number of years became central conceptual elements.
With the help of his frequent collaborator Joseph Riggs, an artist and retired attorney who lives in Santa Fe, Lara pitched the idea to form & concept. The gallery commissioned a digital model and several mock-ups of the buffalo from Albuquerque technology firm 3D Proven Systems, while Lara and Riggs started gathering stories for the project. “We’ve represented Armond’s work for years, and were so excited to help bring his vision into reality,” says Sandy Zane, Owner of Zane Bennett Contemporary Art and form & concept. “For a project at this scale, we turned to 3D printing technology to capture the original carvings in high fidelity.” The gallery mounted a Kickstarter campaign to fund a round of 3D-printed sculptures, which were used to create molds for a final series of 75 cast resin sculptures.
Riggs says the scale of the installation is vital to the project, because it communicates the staggering number of children, families and communities affected by the issue. “I’ve lived in the Southwest my whole life, and I was unfamiliar with the story,” says Riggs. “You can’t find it in history books in New Mexico, but as I learned, there were slave markets all across this region. It became a deep part of the culture of the Southwest.” Each of the 75 buffalo sculptures will represent the story of one “Lost Bluebird,” with oral and written accounts of their fight for survival. “People in New Mexico have been searching for a way to explore this part of their family history,” Riggs says. “They can take pride in the fact that they’re Hispanic, and they’re Native American, and they’re American. There’s so much division in our country. We need to find ways to show our unity, to show how much we’re alike rather than how we’re different. And I think we can do it through this story.”
Join Jaydan Moore for an artist talk at form & concept on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm. He discusses his solo exhibition Dust, featuring sculptures made from found, silver-plated tableware, and intaglio prints. Moore appears at the artist talk on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm. The show opens with a reception on Friday, June 29, 5 to 7 pm.
Moore comes from a long line of California tombstone carvers, which might explain his obsession with the concept of commemoration. “The trade goes back four generations,” says the Virginia artist. “I grew up watching people make accommodations for loved ones, and turn their history into an object.” About six years ago, Moore began collecting silver-plated tableware to use as a raw material for intricate sculptures. By reshaping these culturally loaded objects, he turned them into vessels for his ideas about memory and material culture. In a new solo exhibition at form & concept, Moore manipulates scrap metal from previous artistic experiments to flip his conceptual universe on its head. “What are the stages of forgetting?” he asks.
Jaydan Moore‘s solo exhibition DUST opens tonight (Friday, 6/29, 5-7 pm), coinciding with our special reception Introducing Robin Waynee & Ryan Roberts. Jennifer Levin of Pasatiempo covered Moore’s show in a gorgeous piece titled “Fragmentary Masterpieces.” Check out a tidbit below, and make sure to read the whole article in print or online.
Moore holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University. An exhibition of his work, DUST, opens at Form & Concept on Friday, June 29. “I like to think of these silver-plated platters as having three weird little histories, or little lies,” he said. “The platters were mass-produced, made to look like they were from the 1800s—made to look old even though most of the stuff I use is from the 1940s through the 1980s. Then, there is the silver-plated material, which is usually brass or copper. This is the platter trying to look more valuable than it really is. Thirdly, there is the wear, the care thing. Some people polish or clean it all the time, and that can be an image of the value it had to them.”
Levin’s piece ends with this dazzling quote from Moore:
“I’ve been thinking about the show title and reading about dust—about how it’s this slow accumulation of everything. You don’t notice it until it’s built up over time, and it’s something we are always trying to clean and change. But dust is valuable because it contains the environment that it is in. Dust is everything that has happened.”
We’ll see you tonight from 5 to 7 pm! Make sure to RSVP on Facebook to show your support.
Virginia artist Jaydan Moore is known for his sculptures made from found, silver-plated tableware. After six years of manipulating these lost heirlooms to reflect on memory and commemoration, he’s accumulated thousands of scrap metal fragments. In his solo exhibition Dust, Moore incorporates the shards into a new series of sculptures. Through these palimpsests and an array of intaglio prints, the artist explores the slow deterioration of memory. Dust opens on Friday, June 29 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm.
Jaydan Moore comes from a long line of California tombstone carvers, which might explain his obsession with the concept of commemoration. “The trade goes back four generations,” says the Virginia artist. “I grew up watching people make accommodations for loved ones, and turn their history into an object.” About six years ago, Moore began collecting silver-plated tableware to use as a raw material for intricate sculptures.
By reshaping these culturally loaded objects, he turned them into vessels for his ideas about memory and material culture. In a new solo exhibition at form & concept, Moore manipulates scrap metal from previous artistic experiments to flip his conceptual universe on its head. “What are the stages of forgetting?” he asks. Dust opens on Friday, June 29 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm.
Moore earned his BFA in jewelry and metal arts from California College of the Arts. In graduate school at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, he started sculpting tableware because the material seemed like a strong proxy for memory. “Metal feels tough, but it actually has so much malleability,” Moore says. “It’ll take on dings and scratches and patinas, holding ‘recollections’ of experiences it’s been through.”
He imagined that the heirlooms were still connected to the people who once owned them, and that he could preserve these delicate biographical threads through his sculptures. In a concurrent series of intaglio prints, he recorded the patterns and marks on the platters before chopping them up. “The works on paper were initially just to document what I had found, and those last traces of whoever owned it before me,” he says. “I thought of it as the shadow of somebody.”
Moore graduated with his MFA in 2012, and continued using the tableware as a sculptural medium. Six years on, Moore is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University. His thoughts about how metal holds meaning have shifted considerably. “For so long, when I was making stuff I always thought there was this living memory in things, that I could feel the person before,” he says.
Lately he’s taken an interest in the way personal significance fades when an object changes hands. Moore realized that the clues he’d been following in the tableware said more about him than their previous owners. He developed an interest in the fragments of metal that were left behind in his studio. “I do so much conglomeration and cutting, so tons of material ends up in the scrap pile,” says Moore. “The earlier series was about the memory that endures, so maybe these scraps could speak to that slow deletion.”
Dust features sculptures made from the glittering shards that landed on Moore’s cutting room floor. In his past work, the artist has taken pains to leave the flawed surfaces of the tableware relatively untouched. “In this series, I’m letting my own personal narrative of how I connect with the material be much more a part of what the viewer sees, or how I talk about it,” Moore says. “My fingerprints are now becoming patina marks on all of this.”
The exhibition also includes a new series of intaglio prints that show intricate tableware patterns fading away. Despite his recent meditations on memory’s decay, Moore can’t fully shake his earlier idea of objects as reliquaries of experience. “The child from the tombstone family believes that there is still this memory in there,” Moore says. “We wouldn’t still be talking about how much objects have a hold on us unless there was something deeply invested in it.”
Baxter frequently picks up materials she’s never used before, searching for novel ways to engage the histories of sculpture, jewelry, weaponry or drapery. For Tooth & Nail, the events of the #MeToo movement have fed into her continued interest in the strength, vulnerability and the raw power of the female voice. The courage of these women has activated work with a blend of toughness and vulnerability. “These contrasting materials carry a similar spirit,” she explains. “My sculptures sometimes look delicate, but when they’re finished, they are structurally resilient.”