“Let’s be ho-nest in
el de-sier-to to-do es
a tri-umph of sed.”
–León De la Rosa Carrillo, “
VIII [Affective Cartography, Santos]”, from Haikus of Peril

Bathsheba Demuth, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Joe Cook, Cristina Mormorunni, and Subhankar Banerjee 

516 ARTS welcomed special guest, author/historian Bathsheba Demuth, in conversation with biologist Joe Cook and conservationist Cristina Mormorunni. This final public forum for the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande moderated by exhibition co-curator Subhankar Banerjee, looks beyond the Rio Grande to the larger context of the global crisis. The event opened with a poetry reading by Jimmy Santiago Baca including the poem, The Buffalo Are Coming. This discussion spanned topics of arts, environment, economics, history, citizen science, conservation, and re-introduction of the Buffalo in the western United States. 


León de la Rosa-Carrillo, Marú Eugenia Hernández, Michael P. Berman, Rob Peters, and Sam Truett

Species in Peril on the Borderlands was a free forum and poetry performance at 516 ARTS, in conjunction with the  exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande. This event focused on the US-Mexico borderlands, one of the most biologically diverse places in North America. The region traverses six eco-regions and provides home to 1,506 native terrestrial and freshwater animal and plant species, including 62 species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The proposed expansion of the “Wall” threatens not only human communities but also the incredible diversity of life and binational investment in conservation. This event began with a poetry performance and is followed by a panel discussion on the history and ecological vitality of the borderlands and the threats facing the region. The line-up of speakers brought together art, science, history and activism.

Honoring the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Rio Grande

Presented by 516 ARTS, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Flower Hill Institute, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center & Southwest Conservation Corps – Ancestral Lands Program

Everyone is invited to the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge for a provocative and honest conversation exploring what it means to reclaim “Columbus Day” as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” We gather in sincerity to open space for meaningful dialogue about species in peril, tribal sovereignty and trust responsibility. In this way we Honor Native Land, people, plants and animals along the Rio Grande. Speakers include Eddie Paul Torres (former Governor, farmer and rancher, Isleta Pueblo), Brophy Toledo (Cultural Leader, Jemez Pueblo), Roger Fragua (Jemez Pueblo) and Stephanie Oyenqu (Education Coordinator, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center), among others, and is moderated by Rosie Thunderchief (Valle de Oro/ Ancestral Lands Tribal VISTA, Navajo (Diné, Pawnee, Arapaho & Cheyenne, Ho-Chunk, Lakota). The evening culminates with a special performance of Animal Dances by youth from Jemez Pueblo.


Kierán Suckling, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Brophy Toledo, Josie Lopez, and Subhankar Banerjee

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande: Contemporary Artists Respond, the public is invited to an opening address and discussion. Beginning with an invocation by Brophy Toledo, Cultural Leader, Jemez Pueblo, the opening address is by Kierán Suckling, Co-founder & Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Kierán writes and lectures on the threats to, preservation of, and relationships between cultural and biological diversity, and maintains the most comprehensive endangered species research and management database in the United States. The discussion includes artist Cannupa Hanska Luger, who has created a life-sized buffalo skeleton for the exhibition, and co-curators Josie Lopez, PhD, Curator of Art, Albuquerque Museum and Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair, Art & Ecology Program at UNM.


Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande: Contemporary Artists Respond


Banner Image: Video still from “Indigenous People’s Day”, Courtesy of Melinda Frame/FRAME+WORK, 2019.
All videos produced by Melinda Frame / FRAME+WORK, 2019.