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Las Cruces locals in statewide women's art show

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The works of Las Cruces artists Irene Oliver Lewis, Pamela Enriquez Courts, Diana Molina and Connie Anaya will be featured during the fifth annual Women’s Art Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Pete Domenici Building, 1701 4th St. SW, in Albuquerque.

“I started it five years ago as a show for Latinas and women of a certain age (over 60) who traditionally had not really been included in art shows because they were new at it or too shy to approach anyone to be in a show,” said Linda Valencia Martinez, an Albuquerque artist (tin and wood, acrylics and watercolors) and retired administrator in vocational education. “Today, we have 50 artists who range in age from 19 to 90.”

Martinez said she wants the show’s participants “to grow as artists and make a little income along the way. It has been a privilege for me to work with these artists because we are all learning something about art, marketing, using Square technology to get paid, etc. The camaraderie is what I love the most about these women. They are awesome.”

Martinez said the show’s sponsors include Albuquerque attorney Kelly Sanchez and art philanthropist Margarita Maestas.

Oliver Lewis said her portion of the exhibition will include the premiere showing of her cultural cards, “highlighting Chicana/Latina images and icons from my culture: Frida Kahlo, the Mexican bingo game called Loteria, papel picado and Dia de los Muertos. I use a variety of papers and textures using die cuts to create 3-D and layered surfaces.
“I create my ‘cultural cards’ in my studio located in my family home in the Mesquite Street Historic Neighborhood,” Oliver Lewis said. “My mother, Cecilia Fitch Oliver, would call my sisters and me ‘Las Muchachas.’ So, currently, my sister, Sylvia Camunez, and I are developing a creativity studio we call ‘Las Muchachas de Las Cruces.’”

A theatre artist/producer, the Albuquerque show is the first time Oliver Lewis has done visual art.

“I've been a ‘working’ artist for almost 20 years now and have participated in hundreds of art shows and exhibits,” Enriquez Courts said. “And rarely have I ever seen a show that has been organized and curated exclusively by women and for women. It is long overdue, and I am ecstatic about participating in this amazing art event especially since it is more relevant this year than ever as the rights of women in this country are being taken away. This show is important and may the legacy of the Women's Art Show continue on. ¡Viva la Mujer!”

“I am honored to be included with the talented women in this show,” said Anaya, who is a graphic artist at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. “My vision is to share the strength, beauty, and resilience of the generations of women who have worked the land. These creations feature acrylic paint on wood.”

“My work as an artist includes a variety of genres that include photography, collage (from re-purposed materials) and the written word,” said Molina. “Symbols form the wiring of our connections and behaviors that communicate who we are. My personal work is linked to the collective experience of sharing our regional story as I build on my interest in the connections between art, ecology and humanity.

Molina’s book “Icons & Symbols of the Borderland, Art from the US-Mexico Crossroads” is an award-winning collection of essays and artworks highlighting the people, places, politics and familiar cultural images of the borderlands, often with an ironic slant, she said. It includes more than 100 works by regional artists in a variety of media: painting, collage, neon installations, photography, sculpture and film. “The artwork and narrative present a rare and close-up view of the U.S.-Mexico border region, well-known and representative of those who live and work here and includes work from the traveling exhibit currently on display at the Las Cruces Museum of Art," Molina said.