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Legends behind the mask

Matthew Chase-Daniel’s “Zorro” poster hangs at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy of the artist)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

When the city of Santa Fe called for art to promote pandemic safety, Matthew Chase-Daniel turned to Zorro.

“I found the original poster of ‘Zorro’ with Tyrone Power,” the co-owner of Axle Contemporary mobile art gallery said. “I just manipulated it on Photoshop, manipulating text and imagery to make it about COVID.”

Legendary for his eye mask, Zorro now wears a full face mask.

In between, Chase-Daniel discovered a litany of mask-related movie titles, from “The Lone Ranger” to Jim Carrey in “The Mask” to Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Man in the Iron Mask.”

Today, their masked stars hang at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the Violet Crown movie theater and at various Santa Fe businesses.

“The Lone Ranger had masks over his eyes,” Chase-Daniel said. “They were all mask-related, but none of them had (full) masks.

“Museums aren’t open, galleries aren’t open,” he continued. “We’re all exhausted with the internet. I wanted to put artwork where people could see it.”

The posters will remain hanging until theaters can open to the public again.

In the meantime, Axle will continue to offer exhibitions visitors can see on the outside of the vehicle or view inside through the window through its “Broadsides” and “Installation Art” series:

• Andrea Vargas will show “What It Feels Like to Be Free” from Feb. 12-March 15.

This project recognizes the children in immigration detention camps who have died, and those who still have a chance to survive and reunite with their families. In testimonials, students share how heartbreaking it is to put innocent children in detention camps.

• Taos artist c marquez will show “D3,” a wall-suspended installation created by 863 points of connection from March 19-April 18. The piece is made from dried seedpods and cross-sections of stalks from the sisymbrium altissimum (tall tumble mustard) plant, commonly known as tumbleweed. ​

• Santa Fe Poet Laureate Elizabeth Jacobson will head a civics project for high school teenagers combining poetry and visual arts from April 30-May 23 with Youth Works’ Santa Fe Community Screenprinting.

The venture encompasses the study and crafting of poems, designing and silk-screening excerpts from these new poems on T-shirts, photographic portraiture, readings, publication of an anthology (including photographs and visual art), and public exhibition. Honoring young poets with mentorship and with a portrait that includes their writing recognizes them as individuals and emerging artists. An exhibition will be presented as part of the “Broadsides” series on the exterior of the Axle Contemporary Mobile Artspace.

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