Oasisamerica is known as the region that stretches from modern day Utah down to Southern Chihuahua. The stone ruins of 1000 year old trade settlements throughout Oasisamerica still stand today. Chaco Canyon and Paquimé (aka Casas Grandes) are two such historic sites along the ancient route from Northwestern New Mexico to Northern Chihuahua, Mexico. 18 miles south of Paquimé lies Mata Ortiz, a village renowned for their unique pottery. Despite their close proximity to Paquimé, modern day artists in Mata Ortiz have only began making pottery since the 1970s.
When Paquimé was abandoned in the mid 1400s, the knowledge of the Paquimé pottery process was almost completely lost. The only clues that remained of the once rich pottery scene were the scattered remains of ceramic shards. Through ingenuity and creativity, the ceramic artists of Mata Ortiz learned how to create their own style of pottery from the pottery fragments left behind. Today, the modern-day Mata Ortiz artists are pushing the boundaries of their craft by blending together ancient influences of Paquimé pottery with their own contemporary style.
Trails to Oasis reimagines the exchange of arts and culture between Chaco Canyon and Paquimé through connecting modern day Albuquerque and Mata Ortiz together. While the trading of Mata Ortiz pottery in the Southwest since the 1970s is nothing new, the visibility to the contemporary artists behind the work and current Mata Ortiz culture remains undervalued and overlooked. In a world of hyper connectivity, how can the once shared narrative between our regions in Oasisamerica be so disconnected from one another today? What can we learn about ourselves when we bridge that gap once again?
Movimiento Art (Albuquerque, NM) and Citi Rhythms (Albuquerque, NM) in collaboration with Colectivo Matajaris (Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico) explore this concept in Trails to Oasis. Select works from Mata Ortiz artists will be exhibited for sale alongside candid video documentation of the people, artist processes, music, food, geography and culture of Mata Ortiz.
Trails to Oasis will debut two unique experiences on Friday August 5th, 2022 at Secret Gallery (807 4th st. SW) and on Sunday, August 7th, 2022 at The Hall ABQ (105 Jefferson St. NE). Both gallery experiences will run until Friday, August 27th, 2022.