NUESTRAS VOCES SON SUS VOCES
MURAL DOWNTOWN ALBUQUERQUE 2020
The mural was conceived during the height of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests. Atkins, whose work often lies at the intersection of Art and Social Justice, has previously done work addressing white supremacy and police brutality. During this time, it felt like I was observing attempts to create divisions amongst minority groups. The nuances of my own identity, and experience growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico gives me a feeling of solidarity for the oppression of all marginalized people. Thus the mural grew to address intersections of experience and systemic examples of racial violence.
I included the images of Aiyana Mo'Nay Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old African-American girl from Detroit's East Side who was shot in the head and killed by police officer Joseph Weekley during a raid conducted by the Detroit Police Department's Special Response Team on May 16, 2010, Jakelin Caal Maquin, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died after being taken into US Customs and Border Protection custody in 2018, and Ashlynn Mike, an eleven-year-old Navajo girl who was killed in New Mexico in 2016. I view issues of police brutality, immigrant internment and incarceration, and missing and murdered indigenous women as linked vestiges of white supremacy. I researched New Mexican flora, and chose symbolic flowers for each case. She layered these drawings over the portraits of each child. The final layer being Nazario Sandoval's work in mosaic-like fragments resembling broken glass. The cases and muses for the mural are not overtly named. Atkins wanted the feeling of their presence to exist almost as a background layer- the way these cases often linger in the background of her mind as life continues as normal. The Mural title and quote “Nuestras Voces Son Sus Voces” encourages comradery between people of color, and a resolve to speak of individual experience, as well as speak up for others.
ARTIST: Nazario Sandoval & Helen Atkins
ORGANIZORS: Secret Gallery & Albuquerque ArtWalk
Supported by PNM and the Downtown Albuquerque Arts & Cultural District .