Blooming Heart by Valerie Rangel

Blooming Heart

16″ x 20″ x 2.5″

Papercut in glass wood float frame

4/5 The Greater Chaco Art Benefit is May 12th at The Santa Fe Art Institute. Today is the FINAL day for art submissions (follow link for low-stress guidelines)).

Below is part 4 of our 5-part art preview, and we are so honored to introduce donating artist, Valerie Rangel – also a soon-to-be published author. (Find a brief description of her book below.)

What does the Chaco Benefit mean to you, and why did you get involved?

My art donation is advocacy to reach greater audiences with shared knowledge of the legacy of toxicity and environmental racism in the Southwest, as well as the health and environmental impacts of extractive industries including “fracking”. May my donation motivate others to give/support/change for a better path forward.

How do you envision a better future (for Chaco or in general)?

I hope to see a day where there is justice and equity for communities of color throughout the region, especially Navajos still living without electricity and running water. I envision a day when clean-up of abandoned mining sites has been completed and land has been restored to the point where residents no longer question whether they can perform religious ceremonies with the river water or worry that drinking well water will make them sick or deform their children. I dream of a day when the protection of sacred sites doesn’t require a protest, when all people- young and old, respect not only physical artifacts, but also the great knowledge passed down through culture, language and that is hidden in the petroglyphs left by native scientists and healers long ago.

What role do you think art and artists play in the struggle to protect communities, environments, and indigenous sovereignty?

I donated art years ago to the Rape Crisis Center of Albuquerque and to Navajo Women’s Energy project where the funds helped pay for solar panels to provide electricity to Diné on the reservation. The funds raised though the Chaco art benefit will help initiate a health impact assessment which will gather knowledge from the communities affected by fracking. Their collective voice, stories of struggles as well as their solutions for how to create healthier communities, will be presented to decision and policy makers.

#artspeaks     #art4chaco     #frackoffchaco


Expected release date of Valerie’s book is September 2018, via Arcadia Press/The New Mexico History Press

Title: “History of Environmental Justice in New Mexico”

“The book details the history of land use, highlighting case studies in which environmental degradation has resulted in controversial battles regarding health disparities in disenfranchised communities of color throughout the state. There is a need to voice the present struggles and concerns of disenfranchised communities of color to a larger audience in an effort to educate the public at large about present environmental contamination and issues of social injustice. There are no books on the market today that focuses on New Mexico’s environmental land use and history starting from indigenous perspectives through present day on-going battles.”



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