SFCC Visual Arts Gallery Presents ‘Something I Need You to Know’

Carmen Selam

JC Gonzoles

Jared Weiss

Israel Lopez

Niomi Fawn, Curator

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 5 p.m.

Exhibit continues through February 15, 2017

Santa Fe Community College’s Visual Arts Gallery presents Something I Need You to Know, an exhibition curated by Niomi Fawn. Featured artists include: Razelle Benally, Maxine Chelini, Rose Driscoll, JC Gonzo, Israel Haros Lόpez, Lucy Madeline, Cyrus McCray, Elizabeth Mesh, Carmen Selam, Lillian Turner-Gracie, Edie Tsong and Jared Weiss. The opening reception is Thurs., Nov. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the gallery. The exhibit continues through February 15, 2017.

Niomi Fawn’s intention as curator for Something I Need You to Know is for us to realize that our complex lives leave little opportunity for us to take the time to understand each other directly, in particular across generations. As a consequence we have little understanding of others’ personal histories and how they shape not only who we are but also our generational perspectives. Each generation adds content to our collective experience, but too often we cancel each other out – instead of adding context and narrative, we reinforce the divide. Something I Need You to Know attempts to tell our unique stories and honor the importance of listening to one another along the generational continuum through multidisciplinary art media. The various artists chosen for this exhibition address the curator’s theme in different ways. Here is a selection of quotes and background statements from some of the artists:

Razelle Benally says, “As a filmmaker, I’m indebted to technology. As a person with strong ties to being Oglala Lakota and Diné, I’m always conscious of sustaining cultural values and ties; it’s been especially important for me to meld the old with the new. Part of this cultural sustainment is being able to remain human without relying on technology to imitate what it means to have personal connections to one another. The supporting goal for this project is to combine modern day practices while trying to retain and/or encourage personal human connection. The driving focus of this project aims to do one thing: share experience. Transformations proactively encourages the sharing of experience through the telling of personal accounts of events that have changed lives and informed the work of artists, with the intent of inspiring viewers to connect and listen as if they are in a personal one-on-one conversation with them. Each artist has been fearless in sharing his or her stories. Their accounts of shame, abuse, addiction, racism, death, and sexuality were the topics chosen according to each artist’s own discretion and selecting. Transformations has been compiled as a way to celebrate growth and moving forward as humans and artists. We can all relate to overcoming hardship and I hope we can continue doing so in our art and storytelling.”

JC Gonzo states about his film, “It is reported that in the 1940s, heavy amounts of rain flushed debris from Santa Fe to Santa Domingo Pueblo. The debris is said to have included furniture, fence posts, livestock, clothing, and other household items that were then taken and used by Santa Domingo’s residents. From Here to Santa Domingo documents the arroyos connecting Santa Fe and Santa Domingo and is presented in a structuralist, flash-film format, sequenced in geographical order in a loop. The physical transference of supplies and wealth that resulted from this event becomes a cultural and historical one; the effects of which are still evident to this day, though oral history wanes and memories fade. Societal and cultural intersections with the environment become apparent, creating an ambiguous space between indifferent chaos and nature mysticism.”

Israel Haros Lόpez was born in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents of Mexican descent. He brings his first-hand knowledge of the realities of migration, U.S. border policies, and life as a Mexican American to his work with families and youth as a mentor, educator, art instructor, ally, workshop facilitator and activist. Beginning with a 1.59 High School G.P.A., Israel managed to attend community college and raise his grades enough to be accepted into U.C. Berkeley, receiving degrees in English Literature and Chicano Studies followed by an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. His large-scale drawings address a multitude of historical and spiritual layered realities of border politics, identity politics and the reinterpretation of histories.

Lucy Madeline presents Widening the Sphere, a video work that documents several Santa Fe women, spanning in age from 17 to 78, as they tell stories about their experiences with reproductive health. This project references the Victorian era “Domestic Sphere,” which relegated women to the home, divesting them of their right to vote, consent, or own property – even the property of their body. Widening the Sphere uses the cultural space of the exhibition to expand the contemporary private sphere of reproductive health, rights and access, by bringing these personal stories into the public sphere of the gallery.

Carmen Selam was born and raised on the Yakama Reservation in Washington State. Selam is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and is also of Comanche descent. Her work has shown at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Portland State University Native Center, Oregon College of Art and Craft and the Yakama Nation Heritage Center. About her current work she states, “The narrative of a cashier is rarely seen. The way the working class is treated in Santa Fe is rivaled by no other place I’ve experienced. The privilege is rampant wherever you go. With a community so diverse, there is a sort of separation from those who work and those who have the big bills in their pockets. The pieces presented are meant to evoke the thoughts of your own privilege; to present questions with no answers. Apply your privilege well.”

This exhibit includes these special events:

  • Nov. 10: Opening Reception, Visual Arts Gallery, 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 17: Artists’ and Curator’s Talk, Visual Arts Gallery, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 2: Panel Discussion with Artists and Curator, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Clark Baughan, SFCC Director of Galleries says, “I really excited about the artists and curatorial theme that Niomi has selected. Their collective voices share a depth of perspective of what living in our contemporary American society can entail; the challenges and efforts required to achieve personal and cultural sustainability within a culture that places great demands on all of us. This provides our students the opportunity to work with challenging perspectives that inform our respective places in culture and society. I’ve known and worked with several of these talented people before, but collectively this exhibit presents new methodologies for our students to consider in addressing the challenges faced by people in contemporary life.”

Niomi Fawn is an independent curator based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She is the Director and founder of Curate, Inc., an independent curatorial venture showcasing local progressive art, and promoting those who create it. Curate has explored subjects from feminism to alternate digital realities, with works spanning sculpture and installation to audio, textile, and photography. Recently, Curate was awarded the Santa Fe Arts Commission $10,000 Ignite grant to install public art in multiple Plaza locations and the Railyard — a project for which Niomi selected and commissioned nine local artists.

Curate, Inc. is engineered with regard for both art and design, and its creative architecture is built with a community-sourcing ethic; Niomi performs individual studio visits and boots-on-ground research, turning up artists often undiscovered, overlooked, or under-appreciated by the establishment.

SFCC’s Visual Arts Gallery is open to the public, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Admission is free. For information, contact Clark Baughan at clark.baughan@sfcc.edu or 505-428-1501 or visit the Visual Arts Gallery. Images available.


For more than three decades, Santa Fe Community College has served as the gateway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high quality educational programs that serve the social, cultural, technological and economic needs of a diverse community. The college serves more than 15,000 students per year in its credit, noncredit and adult education programs. For further information, visit the website or call 505-428-1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.