Among the santeros
No piece of folk art says New Mexico like a santo. During New Mexico’s formative days as a Spanish colony and a territory of Mexico, these wooden devotional sculptures of saints, angels, and religious figures were used by members of the Roman Catholic clergy and lay practitioners to teach the central stories of the faith. Today, santos embody the state’s colonial past and can be found in many a New Mexican home and church. A revival of the folk craft has spurred on a whole new generation of santeros, who experiment with the style and form of these carvings. As part of the ongoing Treasures of
Devotion/ Tesoros de Devoción exhibit, the New Mexico History Museum (113 Lincoln Ave., 476-5200) presents “New Mexico’s Devotional Art: An Amalgam of Ethnicity, Artistic and Cultural Traditions,” a three-day symposium on the santero’s art that runs from Friday, May 14, to Sunday, May 16. The conference features talks by a variety of santeros, scholars, and curators including Charles Carrillo, Aaron Fry, Robin Farwell Gavin, Victor Goler, Felipe R. Mirabal, William Worth, and Ross Frank (whose 5:30 p.m. Friday lecture kicks off the symposium). All events are by museum admission. For more details, visit www.nmhistorymuseum.org.
San José by José Manuel Benavides, active 1830-1850