Starting Conversations: Acequia Aqui Placemaking and Placekeeping
The history of acequias in New Mexico weaves a rich tapestry of multicultural practices that illustrate human migration, resilience, and connection to the land and water. The wisdom inherent in the historic acequias continue to tell these stories in the communities of New Mexico, but they have been at risk of disappearance in recent years as a result of climate change, increased real estate development, natural resource extraction and more. Acequia Aqui is an artistic and community driven project that aims to give voice to the historic acequias of Taos to illuminate the importance of this vital resource and cultural wellspring.
For the first discussion on Placemaking and Keeping, we’re joined by four of the project’s contributors: Ayrton Chapman, Fritz Hahn, Mark Henderson, and Ruben Olguin. Individually, each of their work intersects either directly with the acequias in Taos, or they have designed interventions and projects that call attention to lost waterways, land care and cultivation. This program series is co-presented with The Paseo Project in Taos. The Paseo Project’s mission is to transform art through community and community through art. In addition to collaborative community projects and a socially-engaged artist in residence program, The Paseo Project hosts the annual PASEO outdoor art festival in Historic Downtown Taos. Since 2014, artists from all over the world have brought projection, installation, and performance art to the streets of Taos for this free two-night event. Learn more at: https://www.paseoproject.org
George "Fritz" Hahn has been a Town Councilor since 2014 with an emphasis on acequia revitalization, noxious weed mitigation, recycling, landfill operations and sits on the hospital health study committee and nominating committee. Currently he serves as a board member of the Taos Valley Acequia Association.
Mark Henderson has volunteered doing archeology since 1965. From 1977 until 2007 he was an archeologist with the US Government in Taos, Socorro and Gallup NM, Window Rock, AZ and Ely, NV. Mark and his spouse, Yolanda Vigil returned to Taos in 2008 where Mark has used his handsome civil service pension to work as a volunteer in archeology, historic preservation, environmental research, acequia irrigation, and as a "docent" at SMU-in-Taos or under contract through Mark's enterprise, Chupadero Archeological Resources, LLC.
Ruben Olguin is a New Mexico based artist working in ceramics, adobe, sound, video, and electronic media. His work draws from his mixed Pueblo and Spanish heritage. He uses traditional/hand processes for sculpture and incorporates electronic elements. His practice “focuses spending as much time in the desert as in the computer lab”. His work has exhibited internationally, showing in Germany, Miami, Santa Fe and Taos. Olguin completed an MFA in studio arts from The University of New Mexico in 2015, and a BA in Cinematic Arts from The University of New Mexico in 2012. His goals are to make and teach new media art along with socially engaged art practices.
R. Ayrton Chapman was born and raised in Kilgore, TX. She completed her undergraduate degree in Photography at the University of North Texas and received her Masters in Experimental Art and Technology from UNM in 2017. During her time in grad school she joined Edible Carnival and has been touring & producing work individually & with the Carnival since. You can see more of her work here: AyrtonChapman.com EdibleCarnival.org ThinkyFlesh.com