Monday, October 11, 2010


I had a life-transforming time in the desert of New Mexico. The land is consecrated to the Sun as the state flag's solar symbol, sacred to the Pueblo Natives, reminds one...I've been mentally projecting myself to this desert for the last couple of years... I'm still trying to absorb all the experiences I had out there. When I was visualizing the mural, I tried to tune into the magic of the land and create something seen through the eye of the heart.

The mural my local host, Jaque Fragua &  I were working on for the upcoming STREET ARTS show at 516Arts was a testament to the power of color to represent the victory of life over the all-consuming greyness brought upon by pollution and natural/human disasters. I remember growing up in communist Hungary known for the vast environmental and health damage that the lo-tech industrial complex brought to the country...I remember craving bright colors as a child, since the dominant color of that era was grey or shades of grey mixed with faint meant to keep us on a lower vibration. When I looked at the walls of the building, I couldn't wait to just jump into it and see the transformation we were about to bring on. What happened to the EL REY Theatre was a case of color therapy, a symbolic victory of the Sun over darkness, life over death, renewal over pollution and waste. I always dreamt of creating art that followed in the footsteps of traditional artists who created icons or offerings to the higher spirits. Our piece became a metaphor for fertility and spiritual blessings, and everyone who came through to check on us had thanked us for changing up the feel of the whole area. I cannot even thank to all the people who came through and brought us water, food, beer, or sunblock...I really felt the love from the locals, and am very grateful for it.
The Guardian of the Mountains is a Keeper of The Flame, the gatekeeper for the Secret Treasures hidden inside its belly. 
The UNDERWORLD Belly of the Guardian [=burnt out landmark, the once famous Golden West Saloon, also served as a symbol the environmental abuse inflicted upon sacred land by the nuclear industry]. It comes to warn that if you disrespect the Guardian or fail its test, you'll end up swallowed up by the RedCarpetTongue and get burned.  Our Guardian stands as a reminder that the land is sacred and is protected. 
If you pass the Guardian without getting trapped, you may climb the Skypiercing Ladder... elevate  

Markaba Baba's Electric Treasure Chest. 
Holds the key to understanding the harnessing of the elements (fire/water/air/earth - natural power resources) to find GOLD (spiritual understanding/ blessings/ solar energy). 

One of the invited guests of the STREET ART Show that our mural was a part of was photographer Henry Chalfant. Henry is most known for his photos documenting NY subway trains and co-producing Style Wars, one of the most important documentaries about graffiti and hip-hop in 80's NYC. He came through to take some shots of us.

Jaque's clouds bring golden blessings. 
turn into GREEN seeds. The ORANGE represents fire/Sun, BLUE=water, the GREEN=fertile crops 
Randy B took the trash can and turned it into a piece of art. In a way our whole piece was a testament to how with a vision, the ruins can be transformed into new life & blossom, also a consistent theme in Jaque's work. 
We had a team of beautiful artistas helping out as well. Another dope artist, Jaque's production assistant and friend,Vanessa brought her touch with some flowers to the corner of the building. My lovely host, film-maker/documentarian Marie-Michele was documenting the process.
 The third artist working on the mural, NY-based Chris Stain's stencil piece alongside of Jaque's piece on the road side wall. Without previous planning, Chris also brought a vision of a Native mother and child and windmills to the whole that matched ours thematically.
Our piece is an offering to the Mother of All Things, the hidden Source of Mother Nature inside the Holy Mountain where love energy is emanating from her heart nurturing all living beings from within.   I painted this in memory of a visionary experience I had last summer.
Francesca Searer, our curator from 516ARTS did an an awesome job at making sure we had everything at our disposal from snacks to the amazing colors....Thanks for everything, Fran! hosts' house I was staying at. I found a new family here.
 Chevy Apache on Central Ave

the opening



Underneath the artistic vision and the spiritual layers of our piece is yet another dimension that hopes to raise awareness about an aspect of history that affects Indigenous communities in the region. Those who like to dig deeper can read the colors and metaphors through a different lens as well.

The city of Socorro, NM is about 75 miles south of Albuquerque was the site of the first nuclear weapon testing of the atomic bomb in 1945 just before the the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few days later (it is also a site of many UFO sitings). Following the explosion, the agencies leading the test decided against the "evacuation of the immediate area for secrecy reasons. As a result, people in the surrounding areas were exposed to radiation by breathing contaminated air and drinking contaminated water and goats’ milk.[source] " The test was conducted on Native land and affected Native communities primarily. The sacred sites of New Mexico were then exploited later by the nuclear industry for uranium mining that had caused further environmental damage and devastating health problems in those communities.
UN Committee on Racial Descrimination (CERD) Consolidated Indigenous Shadow Report, Sub-Section on Environmental Racism of Indigenous Peoples reported "Water quantity and quality were directly impacted by the mining of uranium in the Grants Mineral Belt in New Mexico. The Grants Mineral Belt was the most intensely mined area for uranium in the U.S. from 1950-1990 [...] These contamination issues have impacted domestic water consumption and use as well as agriculture and livestock watering and have drawn correlations to cancerous related illnesses among the impacted population" [source]. 

As developing nations like China and India are driving up the price of uranium, the US government is pushing the uranium industry back into Indigenous lands. Sacred sites in New Mexico are being threatened again by this new wave of uranium development.

It's been proven by innumerable studies that local mine workers and their families have died from diseases related to exposure to the radioactive uranium. The economic benefits that the uranium industry promised to Native workers have not only left those communities poor but it began destroying them over generations while the multinational corporations reaped the only benefits.

The bad news is that the uranium industry keeps on pushing its agenda to reestablish mining in sacred lands despite the resistance efforts of tribal leaders. The good news is (or let's say potentially good news) is that renewable energy businesses are starting to make headway in New Mexico, offering the development of an alternative, "green" industry in the region. The answer is the SUN.

According to the report of The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) an overwhelming majority of Americans support the solar energy industry. "Not only will these projects produce clean, reliable energy, but they will create tens of thousands of high-paying, American jobs in manufacturing and construction trades from coast to coast. This would include significant new jobs at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in New Mexico, where we manufacture both high-quality photovoltaic panels and concentrating solar power receivers. This industry can provide clean solar power to millions of households while creating thousands of new green energy jobs.

“The sun provides more energy in an hour than all the coal mines and oil wells do in a year. This solar energy is limitless and pollution free,” said Sean Garren, Clean Energy Advocate, Environment America. “Solar energy will play a major role in weaning the nation from dangerous, polluting, unstable and, in many cases, increasingly expensive forms of energy. America can and must figure out how to tap the heat and power of the sun." [

(I'd note that the biggest uranium mining companies are multinational entities, which include companies from Kazakhstan, Japan, Canada, China, Australia, Namibia, Iran beside the US and other countries)

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