Spirit Horse Gallery, Chimayo,NM

Written on 12/21/2019
Jeane George Weigel

I have been casting about for a topic, a story, anything, to express the beauty in this difficult world. I wanted to write something uplifting to you, and I suppose to me as well, for this holiday season. The world seems to have gone so ugly of late.

I live in a gorgeous part of the world, within a deeply rich culture that is actually comprised of three, Native, Spanish and Anglo. These three have learned how to co-exist over the last 400 years without losing their individual traditions in the blending of some. 

It is an honor to get to be a part of this…

… and to tell you the truth, I think it keeps me young.

Even so, with the state of politics in this country, the world really, and the hateful rallies conducted by our president, the devastating policy changes that are caging kids at our border, blocking refugee claims and endangering those seeking refuge here; the stripping of environmental and business regulations; the lying, not only by the president now, but by his entire Republican party, is getting me down. 

They know they’re lying, where I actually think Trump no longer does. They know they’re endangering our Democracy, our Constitution, but they don’t seem to care. They know Trump is corrupt. And yet they stand in the people’s House of Congress and lie to us, endeavoring to protect this one unethical, unscrupulous, untrustworthy man who is profiteering with our entire government.

I am in desperate need of something good.

And so I stopped by the Spirit Horse Gallery in Chimayo today, just down the mountain from me eight miles (764 State Road 76, Chimayo, NM 87522, 505-351-4991).

Crystal Paints Primarily on Skins, Gourds and Wood

It’s a relatively newish gallery here, owned by artist Crystal Carol. I first saw a photo of her work when writing a post about the High Road Art Tour this past fall. I was so impressed I made a point of going to see it in person, and to meet the artist.

The day I chose to walk into her gallery was a special one. Her wonderful Samoyed, Chamisa, had given birth to puppies just three days earlier. 

And so I went back this week, four weeks later, knowing there was a pretty good chance for some holiday cheer here. And I was right.

It is important in times of trouble…

… to remember that there is still good in this world…

… there are still kind and loving people…

… there is still new life…

… new beginnings…

… comfort…

… safety.

And art that has been handed down through the generations.

I made an assumption about Crystal. I thought she was Native. She looks native…

… she grew up on the Great Plains, in Sioux City, Iowa…

… she was inspired by the pictographs of the Plains Indians, she uses caribou, elk, deer and buffalo hides as her primary mediums.

She tells the story of fellow college students, Sioux students, at the University of South Dakota, who were always telling her she needed to own her heritage. But she insisted she wasn’t Native.

For her entire life she’s thought of herself as the orphan girl from Korea who was adopted and brought to the states when she was seven. Then a friend gave her a DNA test for her birthday and she found out she was Native after all.

So when I say this work she does was handed down through the generations, she didn’t have a mother or a grandmother, a father, teaching her these traditions.

They were in her. In her blood. She carries within her the antiquity of a people she never knew as her own.

She’s been making this art for thirty years. It was born in her.

And if Joseph and Mary showed up at her door, this gentle soul would certainly invite them in.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you. May peace, love and kindness find its way back into our society.

Love to you all,