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‘Heavy images’: Art at the Abbey presents ‘A Vision of Hope and Healing’

Manos Extrañándose (Hands reaching for each other) by Adrian Martinez, oil on canvas.

Each year, the Norbertine of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey puts together an art exhibition that is meant to inspire.

“This year, it’s needed more than before,” says the Rev. Graham Golden. “We started planning for this before the pandemic. Then it hit, and racial tensions started emerging.”

The theme for the exhibit is “A Vision of Hope and Healing.” It opens at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. The exhibit, which can be viewed in person or online, runs through Nov. 13. It features over 70 artists and collaborative efforts that reflect personal perspectives.

“It seemed like an appropriate theme,” Golden says. “The theme was almost a summary of the implicit realities that the previous four exhibitions have been about.”

“Sisters III” by Nina Baldwin, acrylic, gold leaf

Golden says planning for this year’s event has taken months. The pandemic has forced changes.

“We would go all out on opening and closing nights,” he says of previous years. “This year won’t be as festive, because we are abiding by the government mandates. People will go in and see the pieces. Luckily, our campus is spread out and there wouldn’t be a problem with social distancing.”

Golden says it has been amazing to see the exhibit come together.

He says interest in the event has come from as far away as New Jersey.

“Salvador de El Corona” by Samuel Vojtech, wood burned and carved plywood

“If you look at the poster for this year, what people are depicting is not this fairy book notion,” he says. “There’s a vulnerability and rawness and even a plausible sense of pain and suffering in all of the works. I think it’s because the artists are expressing the fact that this human journey is difficult. There are some pretty heavy images.”

This year’s poster is “Manos Extrañándose (Hands reaching for each other)” by Albuquerque-based artist Adrian Martinez.

“This piece is about the year 2020. The two hands are reaching for one another but not quite touching,” Martinez says in a statement. “It is about social distancing, separation and distancing we have done to one another. But it is hopeful, because the hands are reaching toward one another in an expression of humanity and connection. It has been a difficult year, but there is always hope if we choose to reach out to one another.”

“Light in the Forest” by Annette Kingman, oil

Golden says visitors are required to wear a mask at all times and are encouraged to use the hand sanitizer provided in each building of the exhibit.

“Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other guests,” he says. “Follow posted signage and any instructions given by exhibition hosts and enjoy the art, but avoid lingering so that everyone who is present may have an opportunity to view all works in the exhibition.”

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