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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014 1:34 pm | Updated: 11:32 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

With 35 new artists exhibiting at this year’s Contemporary Hispanic Market, anticipation is running high among the artists themselves as well as the thousands of marketgoers expected to attend.

A total of 134 booths will line Lincoln Avenue from the Plaza, each containing creative contemporary work of Hispanic artists. 

“Both [traditional and contemporary Hispanic art] are necessary — we are all one culture,” said Rob Rael, a participating artist and public relations coordinator for this year’s Contemporary Hispanic Market. “We don’t want to lose our roots, and yet we still want to continue to be creative.”

Rael said there will be a variety of art that is “traditional with a contemporary twist,” including jewelry, sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography and crafts in metal, wood and paper.

VICTORIA DE ALMEIDA

Now participating in her fifth year at market, Victoria de Almeida’s acrylic paintings epitomize the melding of traditional Hispanic cultural values and innovative art. De Almeida’s colorful and folksy renditions of her ancianos (ancestors) offer a distinct insight into her heart.

“The reason I paint is to honor my extended Hispanic family,” the 41-year-old Eldorado artist said.  “It’s important to honor where I came from, [including] the traditions and the way I was raised.”

One of de Almeida’s paintings, which usually depict the Anaya clan from the village of Galisteo on her maternal side, was chosen by Barnes & Noble to grace a tote bag sold nationwide by the chain. 

De Almeida, who has painted professionally for 14 years, was born in Gallup but has lived all over New Mexico because her father worked for the phone company, then Mountain Bell. She said her grandfather taught her father how to paint and he taught her. For more information, visit www.victoriadealmeida.com.

REBECCA SHINAS-REHBERG

With such rich Hispanic tradition and culture permeating throughout both the traditional and contemporary markets, it is common to see family members showcasing their art side-by-side. That’s why it is no surprise to see Victoria de Almeida’s sister, Rebecca Shinas-Rehberg, displaying her surrealistic oil paintings on Lincoln Avenue for the second year.

Shinas-Rehberg said growing up in an artistic family provided the background for her to study fine art at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where she lives. 

“In college I learned how to ‘look,’” Shinas-Rehberg said. “The first two years we had to draw exactly what we saw. The next two years we were able to abstract.” The 43-year-old painter says her vibrant paintings contain something with a “heartbeat,” whether it is a human being or a magical landscape. 

As her sister gains inspiration from family, Shinas-Rehberg said she is inspired by the landscapes themselves or by the tones set by music as well as photographs and movies. Such stimuli “will spark something in my mind,” she said. For more about Shinas-Rehberg, visit http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/rebecca-shinasrehberg.html.

CIPRIANO VIGIL

Thousands of children throughout Northern New Mexico have benefited from Cipriano Vigil, who teaches them how to fashion guitars from wooden cigar boxes.

“It’s a real instrument,” said the 72-year-old Vigil, who is now in his eighth year at the market, where he sold 35 guitars last year. “It has three strings, no mas, so it’s easy to learn, especially for a little kid. My dad used to build them back in the ’50s.”

Vigil, who teaches music at the El Rito campus of Northern New Mexico College, estimates that he’s taught about 2,000 children, some as young as second graders, to build cigar-box guitars. He is also an accomplished musician and has made several presentations at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. 

“Everywhere I go, I look for cigar boxes,” he said, joking that he gets them when they’re already empty and doesn’t have to smoke the contents to make an instrument. Learn more at www.newmexicofolkmusictreasure.com.

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Today’s New Mexican, July 28, 2014

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