Laguna/Zuni artist Floyd Solomon didn’t pull any punches when he created the copper-plate etching titled Selecting a Church Site. It depicts a moment in the 16th-century Spanish conquest of indigenous peoples in the Southwest. A conquistador and a churchly figure wearing a robe and miter aim a cannon at a kiva. “A lot of Catholic churches were built over kivas,” explained Joyce Szabo, professor of art history at the University of New Mexico.
The image is included in the exhibition 400 Years of Remembering and Forgetting: The Graphic Art of Floyd Solomon, on view in the Van Deren Coke Gallery at the UNM Art Museum through May 17. Szabo and Santa Fe photographer Siegfried Halus curated the show, which includes etchings in which Solomon explored the arrival of the Spanish and the effects of colonization on Pueblo people — a series he called Crucifixion of a Culture. The late artist studied under Halus in the early 1990s at the Institute of American Indian Arts but was largely self-taught. For the work in this exhibition, he used a medium not traditional to Native artists.
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