photography


Arts

Saddle Up: Moving Forward, Looking Back travels the Old Spanish Trail

The Cathedral in downtown Santa Fe
Matt Wright
The Cathedral in downtown Santa Fe

Janire Nájera apparently likes her road trips 19th-century-style. The Spanish photojournalist and curator is taking a cue from Antonio Armijo—who laid the groundwork for successful trade along what's now known as the Old Spanish Trail when he successfully hoofed it from New Mexico to California and back (and managed to make a profit in the process)—with a voyage through northern New Mexico, parts of Utah and Arizona, and into Southern California. For the journey, Nájera's own pack animal of choice is an RV from 1984, a bit of an upgrade from the 100 mules of Armijo's trip in 1829-1830. Her goals are social and artistic in nature as she explores, according to the description on her website, how “the traditions of the first settlers [of European descent] ... have merged with domestic cultures, influencing the creation and identity of today's pueblos and modern cities.”

Nájera's journey began in Santa Fe on March 10, and she's already building a fascinating portrait of modern-day descendants of our region's Spanish heritage. See Nájera's video below featuring Julia Gómez talking about the famous Colcha stitch, and her latest blog entry has another great one with Santa Fe hairdresser Faustino Herrera de Vargas, entirely in Spanish, speaking about his storied life.

Janire Nájera
Julia Gómez at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art on the Colcha stitch

Follow Janire Nájera's travels along the Old Spanish Trail at her blog Looking Forward, Moving Back, and keep a weather eye out for the book and photography exhibit that will be the eventual result.

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Winning photograph speaks volumes

Winning photo by UNM art education graduate student Junfu Han
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An older Latina woman stands clutching a telephone pole painted with colors of the American flag in a border town of the Southwestern United States. She’s expressionless except for a squinting of her dark eyes during the midday sun. Her gaze is slightly off camera and a silver cross is half hidden under her blouse. Her left wrist is bandaged, yet she doesn’t seem broken. Rather, she's solid and stoic with an unassuming strength. The author of this photograph is Junfu Han, a UNM Art Education graduate student and the winner of the 1st Annual International Education Week photo contest.

During the week of Nov. 11, UNM’s Global Education Office hosted International Education Week, and unlike previous years, this year’s event included the photo contest. The week focuses on the benefits of studying abroad and celebrates the diversity of UNM students. Photographers entered the contest, whose theme was “International Experiences,” with portraits, landscapes, architecture, street photography, abstract or experimental pictures. Han’s striking composition of the Latina woman in the Chihuahuita community in El Paso, TX was declared the winner with its portrayal of American mythos and Mexican experiences on the border.

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