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Festival features 100 indigenous artists, with music, dance, fashion, food

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Celebrating indigenous art is the main focus of the We Are the Seeds festival.

The three-day event in Santa Fe is the brainchild of Paula Mirabal, Tailinh Agoyo and Sharon Lucero and will be held at the Santa Fe Railyard Park from Thursday, Aug. 17, through Aug. 19.

Rabbett Before Horses Strickland

The festive celebration includes music, dance, fashion and culinary art.

The event will host approximately 100 indigenous artists, representing a diversity of tribes and regions.

Mirabal, Agoyo, and Lucero emphasize that an event of this size creates a wonderful environment for artists and visitors to share, exchange, and enjoy. It will also generate an opportunity for growth in years to come.

One artist who will be at the event is Wisconsin-based Rabbett Before Horses Strickland.

Strickland started painting as a teenager and was impressed by the work of European Renaissance and baroque masters, including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian, Velasquez, Rubens and Da Vinci.

He studied both the forms and the studio practices of these masters, and he creates his work using traditional glazing techniques, in which layers of translucent color lend the paintings a glowing quality of emanating light.

His artwork varies in sizes, and he usually takes two to four months to finish a piece.

“A big painting takes about three days to dry with oils,” he says. “I focus on Anishinaabe mythology, and I do not copy anything. All of my family were artists on my mother’s side.”

Strickland’s paintings also introduce viewers to Nanabozho, who appeared to the artist first in his dreams – and then in his art.

Nanabozho is a complex character from Ojibwe mythology,” he says.

Strickland said the character possesses supernatural powers and he creates medicines to heal the sick and gives assistance to the weak and oppressed.

But like humanity, Nanabozho has been “subject to the need to learn.”

“If you’re going to bring anything new into the world of art, don’t copy,” he says. “Don’t be afraid of your own limits. Test them and be original.”

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