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Focusing on the commonalities

Santa Fe-based artist Erin Currier’s work is the latest to be featured in the “Flags of Resilience” series. (Courtesy of Erin Currier)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Artists are constantly at the forefront for change.

Zane Bennett Contemporary and form & concept have been pushing a narrative forward with the “Flags of Resilience” series.

The long-term, artist-run project features commissioned work by local and internationally known artists in response to their unique and communal experiences amid global upheaval.

The project, founded by form & concept-represented artist Thais Mather in response to the global pandemic, also addresses the nation’s longstanding struggles with systemic racism and police brutality, including the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among others.

Mather said the artists chosen for this project will lead the dialog on these subjects, presenting stories and aesthetics drawn from their far-flung communities.

Erin Currier

Its latest edition was made by Santa Fe artist Erin Currier. The sales will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

For her flag design, Currier offered her 2019 painting “Salvavidas: Incarcerated Firefighters of Malibu (after Delacroix).”

She reimagines Delacroix’s iconic Liberty Leading the People, evoking her own experiences with the devastating 2018 Woolsey Fire by recasting Parisian revolutionaries as women firefighters.

“The piece highlights the inherent dignity of women laborers and incarcerated women the world over, who are all too often disparaged and overlooked,” Currier said in a statement.

Currier said the release coincides with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s right to vote.

Currier grew up drawing and painting, along with her mother.

By her last year of college, she was spending time on her own work again.

In the past 15 years, Currier said the underlying theme in her work has been focusing on the commonalties as human beings.

“The overwhelming majority of people I have met all over the world are kind, decent human beings whose needs and desires are simple and universal: the necessity of adequate shelter, good food, clean water, the ability to raise and provide for a family, and the opportunity to make use of one’s particular set of skills in order to contribute to their larger communities,” she said. “People the world over love to share laughs and to share a good meal. Divisions are often either superficial or artificially created based on racial, economic and national ideologies.”

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