A Cruelty-Free Future:
Re-imagining Care For the Santos
A 3×3 Project
Our project is called A Cruelty-Free Future: Re-imagining Care For the Santos. This 3×3 Collaboration proposes to address past inequities in the value placed upon different forms of memory and kinds of knowledge, and give voice back to the original creators (or their heirs and descendants)’s perceptions of art and collected objects, not only in the FAC but in all institutions.
We are tasking ourselves with imagining a cruelty-free future for the Taylor Museum Santos Collection, focusing on the 3×3 collaborators’ connection to this exhibit and collection. Recognizing the significant and current work being done by Polly Nordstrand to decolonize FAC curatorial practices, we think of this project as a continuation, an experimental exploration to further the possibilities for curating without cruelty. We aim to decolonize the preservation and the display (or non-display of) sacred objects, to dialogue democratically with the communities to whom said objects have religious significance, to propose concrete steps to reconcile past harms, and to share these concepts with the public.
Our project will be a multimedia manifesto: part democratic dialogue, part plan and ceremony, and part record/archive that imagines a new future of care for the Santos, their stories, and collective meaning. This is a process involving 3 artistic disciplines, plus collaborators and stakeholders from around the Southwest designed to:
- Explore in real time the impact of institutional systems on the original creators and cultures of exhibits, proposing new
visions of “care” for the Santos collection, in the form of ceremony, writing, and more
Document the event
Create a work of art out of said documentation
We believe this is simple in idea yet massive in implications. It is feasible to accomplish in an online capacity by June 2020, and in this form, will exist as a complete work of art and visioning. At the same time, the multi-stakeholder collaboration plants seeds for deep shifts and ideas that can grow and become fully actualized. Simply put: this project is built to scale.
We come together as a multi-disciplinary team of writers, artists (visual, theatre, photography), scholars, community leaders, and singers:
Anita Rodriguez is a former enjarradora who did the finishing on the permanent exhibit in the Taylor Museum of the
Chapel of Nuestra Senora de Los Lagos. She is also a painter, writer of an award-winning book (Coyota in The Kitchen,
UNM Press), a member of culture represented by said exhibits (and as a bonus: a Colorado College dropout)
Miguel Gandert is one of America’s leading documentary photographers. He considers himself an Indo-Hispano and
has spent the last twenty years documenting this culture. He has exhibited throughout the world, and his work was
selected for the 1993 Whitney Museum Biennial. He is a Distinguished Professor of Communication and Journalism at
the University of New Mexico.
Jessica Kahkoska is a Colorado playwright/dramaturg who has performed in seven productions at the Colorado
Springs Fine Arts Center, and worked with theatre institutions across the Southwest. She specializes in research-driven
and community-responsive storytelling, especially how performance and dramaturgy can amplify or shift collective and
We would like to fuse our individual methods to create a process with an ethic, a history, and a rigor. We are inspired by
starting with these questions:
What would decolonized care of the santos in the Taylor collection look and feel like?
* What cruel histories are built into the idea of a “display” or “exhibit?” How can we acknowledge colonial past and
economic systems that have benefited from the display of these objects?
* Are there new ways to organize an exchange or sharing of these sacred objects that hold such tremendous emotional
* How can we acknowledge the damage, the violence, the losses of colonization in past displays?
* What if “care” means moving or removing artwork from the museum?
* What is the role of ceremony, performance, and a new archive in all this?
Above all, it is imperative that the voices and experiences of those collaborators whose culture and history is reflected in
the Santos exhibits be centered and amplified by this work. We hope this 3×3 Collaboration will recontextualize the past
and reimagine future care for the Santos collection, centering its creators and their descendants as makers and
negotiators of its meaning. The goal is not to answer any questions by June 2020, but rather to start the conversations,
offer the questions, and share ideas for the first steps forward.