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‘Profound gift’: SOMOS Reimagined presents short films, temporary installations and fresh murals

Artist Mark Horst makes holes in the ground for his sculptures “soft body” at Tiguex Park as he gets help from his daughter Anna and son Jesse. The sculpture is part of the SOMOS Reimagined art project. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Julia Mandeville is basking in the warmth of SOMOSabq.

Despite the cancellation of the live, in-person celebration this year, Mandeville is overwhelmed by the support of the Albuquerque community.

As artistic director and co-founder, she knew the festival had to take on a different role this year.

Enter SOMOS Reimagined.

The event is a constellation of commissioned creative projects, short films, temporary installations and fresh murals around the city, all made by SOMOS alumni as love letters to Albuquerque.

To nurture community connection through distance, 28 local teams composed of 191 artists, performers and others independently produced their projects for the virtual festival.

“This is really a profound gift,” Mandeville says. “It deserves to be magnified. SOMOS is made by the artists and performers. That is the soul of the project. When we started to think about the reimagining and engaging the alumni network and what would be nourishing to make and offer at this time.”

The virtual festival is available online at somosreimagined.com. There are 20 projects across five sets, which are available through Nov. 1.

Mandeville says there are recorded live performances, as well as a film festival.

Babsy Sinandile and Khalil Ekulona are the virtual hosts of the event.

The artist of the year is Nanibah Chacon, who was chosen for her mural “Agua Es Vida.”

Chacon is a is a Diné (Navajo) and Chicana artist. She is most noted for her female figurative works, which utilize bold colors and an illustrative format to create commentary on Native, Chicana and American cultures.

“Agua es Vida” was originally commissioned and painted as a mural on the El Paso Museum of Art in 2016 : the content of the work honoring the historical and traditional connection we have with water, the water that lives in us, is the water of centuries.

Chacon licensed her gorgeous imagery to SOMOS Reimagined, in this a year of infinite fluidity, Mandeville says.

Months of work went by and movement was being made.

“This is what Albuquerque does,” Mandeville says. “The alumni of SOMOS stepped up to help. All of these artists have been so brave and so generous and bold. They’ve been funded opportunities. They are the reasons that we felt emboldened that we could do anything at all. They have made this the most magical scene and experience. It’s bigger and more beautiful that we could have imagined.”

Mandeville says though the one-day celebration is gone for this year, the pandemic has made it possible for it being accessible to everyone.

With the virtual platform, there is the opportunity to contribute what you can.

“All of a sudden people can meaningfully participate from anyplace,” she says. “It offers a moment and opportunity to share and offer a love letter for the people that aren’t here. I think that’s a lesson that we’ve found quite resounding and are really interested in exploring more.”

Mandeville says the 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the One Albuquerque Black Investment Fund. Those funds will be distributed to the New Mexico Black Leadership Council, Youth & Families Programs and to Black-owned businesses.

There are five sets of performances, visitors can watch in the virtual event. Those are:

• The SOMOS Distance Disco was recorded and features Kharli Brockmeier, Mother of Jellies, Decøn, Anjo King, Naray @ Social Sanctuary.

• The SOMOS Familia features performances and films from Amy Biehl High School students and staff, Keshet Dance Company, Mitchell Berg at Fuego Art Space, Permalove Collective, SouthWest Organizing Project, Baila! Baila! Dance Company, Red Planet Presents: Electric Chaco and Reyes Padilla.

• The SOMOS Artistic Meditations features projects from ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts), Natalie Voelker, Anna Horst + Mark Horst, T-Shirt Lab Talks with Karsten Creightney, Friends of the Orphan Signs, Pueblo Revolt Collective, Billy Joe Miller and Karen Hipscher and Metal the Install Art Collective Creation Videos.

• The SOMOS One Albuquerque Family Dinner Hour features performances by metal the Install Arts Collective, Leah Leyva, AirDance New Mexico, T-Shirt Lab Presents Kid Plastic and Spanish Broom.

• SOMOS La Noches includes live performances by Pope YesYesYall featuring DJ Han Flolo, Cali Shaw & Entropic, Industries and Reviva!

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