Politics unfolding in the creative arts.
My mood as reflected in my posts today are tending away from ranting at the melodrama that dominates the daily national stage like so much atrociously bad acting. Really, bad-bullshit-acting! Such continuous materialization of absurdities coming out of our nation's capital only serve to confirm our great American experiment is dead.
Instead I'm leaning more on those places where, for me and many others obviously, hope still remains. I'm talking about the smaller stages across the nation, those of of localism. Maybe I'm feeling particularly depraved because I've been watching too much national news, absorbing increasing helpings of hopelessness. Or maybe it's because I haven't made my semi-annual pilgrimmage to Taos, NM in over a year and I'm in desperate need of the renewal Taos so unselfishly gives to anyone open to it.
With that in mind, I'd like to mention the art form of Santos. A Santos is the name given to Spanish Colonial hand carved and painted wooden images, usually of saints or other religious figures. It is believed they began somewhere around the 16th century among Jesuit priests.
Traveling in the northern New Mexican Southwest, it is not uncommon to encounter these little figures in galleries and exhibitions of folk art reflecting the Hispanic tradition of devotion.
But sometimes as artists are birthing their images in wood, they take a creative twist and, in so doing, make these curious manifestations even more enchanted. Take for example, contemporary Santa Fean santero Arthur Lopez who said of one of the dominant influences on his work, "The scandals are still going on and sometimes I can't help myself. I have to say something."
As Lopez says of his santo "Self Proclaimed Savior and His Weapons of Mass Deception," it's "'Distinctly dark and sarcastic.' The piece portrays a figure of President George W. Bush in cowboy boots and a loin cloth of the United States flag, crucified on a cross of bullets emblazoned with 'IRAQ' instead of 'INRI,' and oil instead of blood gushing out his wounded chest; Pinocchio-nosed Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld stand prayerfully on either side of the cross.
"I'm seeing the world and everything that's happening in it and how pious (Bush) tries to portray himself. That's where Rice and Rumsfeld are all coming from, just like a crucifixion with the mourning figures on the side. It's so much like a political cartoon," Lopez says of his 'Self Proclaimed Savior'."*
Attributes: *The Taos News; photo courtesy of Parks Gallery