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City Welcomes Public to Open Air Gallery on Civic Plaza

Organized by the Department of Arts & Culture, the gallery features 13 Indigenous comic book artists from around the world.
July 25, 2023

Albuquerque art lovers now have another destination they can visit when art walking downtown. The City of Albuquerque Department of Arts & Culture installed the Open Air Gallery on Civic Plaza, an outdoor art installation. Admission is free, and the public is welcome to walk through the gallery at the southeast corner of Civic Plaza, at 3rd Street & Tijeras Ave. in downtown Albuquerque.

The Open Air Gallery was inspired by the successful Prado on the Plaza art show on Civic Plaza in 2018. The Department of Arts & Culture is happy to produce a public outdoor art show that is accessible, free, and for all ages. Outdoor installations invite locals and tourists to art experiences in an array of disciplines – and often provide a spontaneous encounter with art. The Open Air Gallery is envisioned as a year-round exposition that residents and tourists can appreciate on their own schedule – rain or shine.

The gallery’s inaugural show is Indiginerds Assemble—Indigenous comic art. Indiginerds Assemble highlights artists and creators who combine their own Indigenous worldview with representations of Indigenous peoples in pop culture, mass media, and myth. The show features 13 Indigenous graphic and comic book artists from around the world, from New Mexico to Australia. The artwork draws from science fiction, Star Wars, pop culture, TV, comics, and the Native gaming industry.

The Indiginerds show includes: Dale DeForest (Diné), a digital graphic artist whose works have been displayed on the cover of New York Times; Kayla Shaggy (Diné), a comic illustrator who draws creativity from Indigenous futurism; Ryan Singer (Diné) an oil painter of pop culture images and references through the lens of a traditional Indigenous lifestyle; Connor Alexander (Cherokee) a futurist artist whose work is on a TTRPG (Tabletop Role Playing Game) entitled Coyote and Crow; Roy Boney (Cherokee), who uses a variety of mixed mediums to create award-winning pieces that reverberate the spirit of cultural reminiscences; Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez), a mixed media artist who develops pop art through the perspective of Indigenous individuality; Elizabeth LaPensee (Anishinaabe), a well-established game designer and community leader who has written graphic novels and comics with traditional and pop culture references; W Alvitre, a Tongva and Scottish comic book artist who reimagines sci-fi through cultural storytelling; Sade Esquivel (Mexican Indigenous), who incorporates bold colors into futuristic pieces that invoke a modern and vibrant ambiance; Miguel Espinoza (Mexican), another TTRPG artist who uses dark and subtle contrast bodes in bold “urban fantasy” scenes; Luka Morin (Chippewa), an up-and-coming illustrator who merges Indigenous figures and the manga artform; Johnny Jae (Choctaw), the founder of A Tribe Called Geek who expresses cultural eccentricity and originality in multi-media artworks; and Tim Truman (non-Native ally), a featured artist and designer of the first Native American-centered comic book, Scout.

Dr. Lee Francis, Indiginerd show curator, says of the experience of putting together the show, “For me, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing so much Indigenous creativity on display. Art that pushes the boundaries on what it means to be Indigenous in a pop culture world. Art that evokes joy and resilience. Art that seeks to reclaim Indigenous identity in ways that do not conform to the mainstream perceptions and representations. This exhibit is both a journey and a victory. I’m overjoyed to have been a part of this incredible work.”

The Open Air Gallery is free and open to the public.