Monday, December 3, 2012

La Cosecha

My Mom and I went to the Harvest Festival at Rancho de las Golondrinas this fall.  There was a performance of La Llorona, among many other performances, music, wagon rides,re-enactments, food tasting, harvest fruits and vegetables, etc.   Check out Rancho de las Golondrinas

St. Francis Xavier Church

At the end of October, my Mom and I went on one of our regular day trips, to Jarales.  We visited one of her cousins.  This is where her father's family was from.  Nearby settlements including Los Pueblitos, El Bosque, Belén and Los Chávez are some of the oldest settlements in the Río Abajo.  Largely agricultural communities, the arrival of the railroad in 1880 had a huge influence on these towns, as it did the entire Southwest, and well, the world.  We have made several drives to Jarales and stopped to visit people throughout the years.  On this day, my Mom's cousin made us a special fall lunch of green chile, calabacitas, stew, beans and tortillas.  And of course we had a few glasses of wine.  Having my tripod in the back of my car, I took a few self-portraits.  I've photographed the church several times, but the trees were exceptionally beautiful, naturally because of the season.  This is a newer church, and the old St. Francis Xavier Church was situated at the same site.  Among the mayordormos of the original mission church during the late 1800s and early 1900s were my great-grandparents Benigno Gallegos & Concepción Barreras de Gallegos.  Their is a plaque on the wall at the entrance with their names on it, along with many other mayordormos.  The church is located just north of the US Post Office on Jarales Road.  There is a Jarales Post Office, as well, just north of that.
The Kimo - The King of its kind.  Magnificent.  One of the best things Alburquerque has done is replicate the original marquee on the theatre.  Southwest Art Deco.  Let's keep it lit.
According to my publisher's catalog - LPD Press / Río Grande Books, my first publication "Becoming a Part of My History:  Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors" is ranked 9th Most Popular Genealogy Reference, #32 New Mexico History, and #78 Southwest History on  Very excited indeed.

My next work is expected to be out in early 2013 titled "Por Constancia / So that it may be validated:  Family History in the Río Abajo".  I'll keep you posted.

Here is one of the blurbs for praise and criticism that can be found on the back cover of my first book:

In viewing photos of nuevomexicanos held in the NationalArchives, I was always struck by the fact that the names of the subjects werenever included; they were identified dryly as “Spanish American women bakingbread,” or “Spanish American male driving a wagon.” Impersonal, deracinated,objectified. Andrés Armijo's visual chronicle of his familia is a response tothat colonizing act of reduction. With a profound sensibility of love andrespect, he unfolds before our eyes and our hearts the history of his clan inthis splendid book that comprises a blend of historical fact, physicaldescription, cultural analysis, existential musings and, of course, photographsthat record names and details, thus rendering his ancestors flesh and bloodagents in the making of their familial and cultural history. In sharing thisvery personal album, Armijo eschews the potential sentimentality or narcissismof journeys of self-discovery as he strives to understand his place in abroader collective history that belongs not only to his family but to allnuevomexicanos. Almost two decades ago, when Andrés with his cara de ángelenrolled in one of my heritage language classes at UNM, I immediatelyrecognized a thirst for cultural knowledge rare among his peers. This jewelfulfills my intuition that his passion for his cultural legacy would lead tosomething grand.

Erlinda Gonzales-Berry
Professor Emerita University of New Mexico
and Oregon State University

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hi Everyone, I have not had a second to update my blog until now.  This is a photo of a very unique descanso that is on Tramway Blvd., heading east toward the Sandías.  I hope to update my blog more frequently.  For the meanwhile, I hope that this photo is a source of reflection.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Three Dances

I began studying film and video because of my deep interests in the still image, but also because I needed to express myself in another medium.  When projected in succession, still images meld together, and the persistence of vision creates a "movie."  The retina retains the image longer than the eye is exposed to it.  The individual images that were captured on film were on individual frames, and separated from one another only by an instant. The technology has evolved dramatically since Edison and the Lumiere brothers' created their "movies" in the 1890s.  

People's likenesses, images, mannerisms, facial and corporal expressions fascinate me.  As a dancer, I attended a great deal not only to my own studies as a flamenco dancer, but to how other people move and use their bodies, and why - athletes, musicians, 2-d and 3-d artists, and well, all likes of people.  

Our brains have a truly "incredible" way (sure, maybe scientists can explain it, but there is still very little we know about the brain) of creating dreams.  Ideas, thoughts, feelings, experiences, memories, concepts, perceptions, and even spirits enter our dreams.  When my sister died, it was a traumatic experience, and one of the ways I was able to mourn was to express myself through dancing.  At the same time, I wrote quite a lot, and found myself developing a video about my experiences that I was having. I had already been studying film and video, and I found that this medium was a good form for my expression.  I actually made two films based on my story titled Ruby Red, but Three Dances was somewhat of a sequel to it.  It was actually a more evolved version of my writing and first film about her.  Interrelated, but two different expressions.  

The five pieces that I made throughout my exploration of film and video are:  ...and unto those banks, Ruby Red, Within Me, Three Dances and Immemorial.  They resulted from a great deal of writing, research, shooting and editing.  It was something that I needed to do, and as such, like Rainer Maria Rilke, I believe art [writing, to cite him accurately] is created out of need.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Within Me

My expression of my genealogical and family history research began to take many forms long before I published my first book Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors. I was certainly interested in the actual archival process of genealogy and designing and organizing my documents, pedigree charts and family group charts, but as my archive grew, and being a creative person, I needed to think more intensively about how I was going to form all of this content.  (An interesting note here, a good read on the relationships of the "form" and the "content" can be illuminated by historian Hayden White in some of his theoretical essays from which I drew a great deal of inspiration)  Anyways, as I explained in Becoming a Part of My History, I knew there was much more to my journey than just the actual research.  The family artifacts, material culture and certainly vintage photos were always inspiring, motivating, and they were begging for me to draw them to the forefront.  In deciding how to compile all of this, make sense of it to myself and to my public, I wrote vignettes, created photo essays and produced short films focusing on my journey of the research of my family history.  I did a great deal of writing - vignettes, treatments, and even scripts.  I had found another medium through which to express my passion for family history and created a 33 minute video titled Within Me .  This is a trailer of the video.  This piece, and my other published work can be researched by clicking the Within Me links, and through Libros at UNM Libraries, and viewed at the Center for Southwest Research.


Review by Gene Grant, July 6, 2005, 7:57 p.m.
From website of that date
"Musings of the Dreadlocked Flaneur"

"Within Me," A Name Is More Thank A Name...when it comes to this state.  A very nicely done documentary by Andrés Armijo about his relationship with his late father...and more. He set the tone nicely with a well researched history of the Armijo and Candelaria names and their respective relationship here in ABQ.  Weaving that with his Dad, an Armijo, mad it interesting every step of the way.  Glad to meet Andrés out in the lobby.  For any son, this is a really good experience."  Gene Grant from the website July 6, 2005, 7:57 p.m.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In high school, as part of my genealogical and family history interests, I became enamored with my mother tongue and culture, and all things associated.  I studied Spanish since middle school and became very attracted to the pop culture of Spain, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, including our own in Nuevo México.  I listed to all kinds of music, watched all the Spanish language programming on TV, watched "foreign" films, and all that.  I decided to study Spanish as an undergraduate and participated in exchange programs living in both Guadalajara, and Granada - Spain.  I eventually met one of my passions - flamenco, and couldn't stand to watch it!  I couldn't stand to watch it because the moment that I saw it live, I knew I needed to dance it.  It was an exhilarating feeling that I had about this art form and found that it was my non-verbal way to communicate and express myself.  I eventually obtained a minor in dance due to studying flamenco purely for the love of it, and need to express myself in this way.  I danced for about 12 years.  While studying video and film later, I created a "self-portrait" in video.  A photographer that I knew at the time had shot some video of me dancing, and I used it to create this self-portrait.  An exercise in editing, exploring the relationships between me and my flamenco professors, incorporating other types of percussive music that wasn't flamenco, this became largely a contemplative thought and introspective process into approaching how one would create such a self-portrait.

A slideshow portfolio of my dance follows -

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Honoring individuals, family, their creativity and their personal interests & goals is important to me.  Honor, respect and memory are important ideals to me, and I have approached them fervently.  I believe that everyone is worthy of honor, and not just the famous people: celebrities, politicians, and the like.  I was very close to my sister Louise, and though my Dad had died previous to her, I felt that her death was the most devastating thing to happen to my family, despite other challenges and hardships that we, as all families have experienced, had suffered.  To loose a sibling, whom I was so close to, was a very odd and difficult thing to experience.  As such, part of my mourning and grieving process was relieved in honoring her:  I created an endowed memorial scholarship at the College of Fine Arts at UNM for the Theatre Department in her name.  I raised $30,000 from family, friends and small business.  I began in 2000 and completed my goal in 2003.  There were many people who contributed and throughout the years there has been a feature story on this.  This article is from the Spring 2008 College of Fine Arts Newsletter.  My sister was a theatre major, and I wanted to help other students try to achieve what she was trying to complete.  Now her name, image, dreams of finishing her degree, and her beautiful smile will live on in lots of different ways, not only for her family, but for many people.
Hello Everyone,

Geeze, what a hot summer it has been.  Working full-time throughout the summer doesn't leave you a lot of energy to do much after work, and weekends are full of "weekend-warrior" approaches of trying to either have fun, or get things done.  

Since my last presentation at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts, I have made it a point to take a few days off from work, go on a couple of short one-day excursions and try to work out.  We keep ourselves so busy with our work, our passions, our families and things like that, that we rarely take time to slow down and relax.  There is the side of us that needs to be creative, and also the side of us that needs to take some time to slow down.  It's kind of a contradiction for me, that I want to complete this, do that, do the other, but at the same time, I just want to do nothing!  But, I guess that is what drives us - our passions.  And what would we be, and what would we do without passion?

So, I am finally getting a chance to update my blog to share photos from my flickr photostream, some updates to links and other aspects of my passions that I haven't had a chance to post to my blog...many things still to come that I have done in the past, but haven't yet posted.  Some items will be posted with images as links on the right hand of the page, others will be as regular posts.  

So, I thought I'd send out a greeting to everyone reading this and hoping that everyone is healthy, happy and continuing to work on whatever you are passionate about, and what makes you happy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photos from my presentation at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage & Arts on Saturday, June 9, 2012.  Thank you to all who attended, it was a great crowd and a very enjoyable time.  Special thanks to Andrea Chávez and Rico Gonzales who coordinated the event, pictured in this first image.  Many community members and family and friends alike attended.  The presentation focused on my new work titled "So that it may be validated:  Family History in the Río Abajo", a monograph supported in part by The Historical Society of New Mexico.  A reception with appetizers followed, which all contributed to a great escape from the heat!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Please join me at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m.  I will be presenting my latest work "So that it may be validated:  Family History in the Río Abajo" which was supported in part by a grant from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and The New Mexico Musical Heritage Project.

Many special thanks to Ricardo Gonzales and the directors and staff at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Hubbell House Alliance in partnership with Bernalillo County Open Space
presents a New Mexico Statehood Centennial Celebration

Cien Años Después en Cine – 100 Years Later in film - Saturday night June 2nd @ 8pm

   Outdoor Film Series:
"Movies Under the Stars"   

Contemporary films by local producers offering visual expression of culture, traditions, and history of NM rural communities.

documentary film by Cynthia J. Gómez      
documentary film by Samuel Sisneros    
documentary film by Andrés Armijo
Short trailer for "Within Me" by Andrés Armijo

   Saturday, June 2, 2012 @ 8pm   
at the Gutiérrez Hubbell House
6029 Isleta SW Abq. NM 87105 (2.5 miles south of Río Bravo Boulevard)

FREE! (donations accepted) - bring your folding chair or blanket - filmmakers present

For more information, email  505 244-0507 or or call 314-0398 or visit:                                                                                                  
LAND WATER PEOPLE TIME by Cynthia Gómez is a documentary film about cultural and environmental loss and preservation in Northern New Mexico. Across the landscape of Northern New Mexico, people speak about the relationship between people, place and time. Set in a complex 500 year history of Intertribal relations and European colonialism. Negotiating raiding and barter; periods of famine, abundance and disease; international and civil wars and peace – the survival of people often resulted in cultural blending of Native Americans, Spanish, Black and Anglo people with their natural environments. The film allows the viewer to witness for themselves, a simple yet meaningful sensibility of natural surroundings, personal and intergenerational history, and the people that sustain those cultures celebrated in Northern New Mexico. Cynthia Jeannette Gómez, Producer. Daniel Valerio, Producer. David Lindblom, Director.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE is an eleven-minute documentary, by Samuel Sisneros tells the story of a family from Los Lentes, New Mexico and how it shares a common ancestry and history with Isleta Pueblo. Through image and dialogue, the video gives local representation towards the understanding of larger social issues that take place in many New Mexican communities involving race, family history, and cultural and social boundaries.

WITHIN ME is a thirty-three minute documentary film by Andrés Armijo reflecting his family history, his relationship with his father, and issues of identity. This personal portrait is told with photographs, letters, home movies and genealogical research of a family with roots in Albuquerque.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taos, New Mexico
April 2012

My Mom and I decided to jump in the car one Sunday to go meet a distant relative with whom I had been in touch by phone for some time.  We really wanted to meet him, as I had always prodded my Mom in the past to take me to my parents' relatives.  A very intelligent and gracious man.  Their grandmothers were sisters, and were both born in Tecolote, NM.  But, at the turn of the 20th century his grandmother's family went north to Taos, and my grandmother's family went south, to Jarales.  

 At our distant relative's house in Taos in front of the horno he and his father made.

I take a better picture than this.  But, it illustrates that artists who have done a justice in paintings and photographs of this sacred church, have achieved high levels of technical skill and artistry.

Madrid, New Mexico.  Took a drive after brunch with my Mom and brother on Mother's Day.  
The Coal Mine Museum and Theatre.
And no, it's not "MA drid".  It's simply Madrid, or Madrid - in English, and in Spanish, respectively.  The tonic syllable, the last syllable - <drid> 
is the same in both English and Spanish.

 View of the stage in the Theatre

 View of theatre from downstage

 The props shop at the back of the theatre

 One of two complete preserved steam locomotives in New Mexico

 View from inside the Theatre & Museum

 Coal storage and cart

 "The Executive Lounge"

 An electric locomotive

 Fun carts for the Christmas and other parades outside the service station

 Steam Locomotive

Church at Golden, NM, just south of Madrid

 Just south of Madrid

Top view of electric locomotive

Thursday, May 17, 2012

At the Southwest Oral History Association conference in April, I gave a 1/2 day workshop on reconstructing family history, and spoke on a panel the following day.  As part of the workshop, I curated an exhibit - a "mini-museum" if you will, of personal family photographs, artifacts, documents and various material culture.  The participants pictured here are writers, historians, artists and teachers that are involved in various aspects of oral history, family history and genealogy.  We all learned a great deal from each other.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Unas fotografías de lugar y paisaje - y querencia

Andrés Armijo by Sergio Quintana, January 2012

I am finally getting around to posting some images that I had photographed since the winter.  They were all part of my research and creative process of my latest project.  I was so focused on my project I hadn't been able to post these images...until now.  Here are just a few of those images, mainly from north, northwest of Santa Fe.

Since about 1987 I had visited Tecolote, New Mexico where my grandmother and great-grandparents were from.  Even though I had taken pictures of the iglesia, I didn't have one of me with it.  My friend Sergio Quintana photographed me in front of it - Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.  This is part of my encouragement to all family historians - go visit your querencias, photograph the monuments, landmarks, the places - and the ambientes - that have interest and meaning to you.

This was in January 2012, and even though the sun was bright, it was breezy and very cold.

Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Tecolote, New Mexico.  Detail by Andrés Armijo, January 2012.

Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Andrés Armijo 2012.

Cañoncito at Apache Canyon.  On this trip, I went alone.  Remember that when you travel to places alone, you see differently, hear differently, and think differently. Don't be afraid to travel on your own, if even short distances from your home.  Self-portrait, Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

Nuestra Señora de la Luz at Cañoncito.  Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

"La Estafeta" Glorieta, New Mexico.  My grandmother was actually born in Glorieta, though her siblings and parents in Tecolote.  It seems that my great-grandmother gave birth while my great-grandfather was working on the Rail Road.  They were en route between Las Vegas and Glorieta.  Self-portrait, Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

I love taking photos of the "Official Scenic Historical Markers" throughout New Mexico.  Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

 San Antonio church at Pecos, New Mexico.  Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

Ruins of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in Pecos, New Mexico.  Andrés Armijo, February 2012.

More to come...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Andrés Armijo announces the premiere of his latest work titled:  
So that it may be validated:  Family History in the Río Abajo

A 24 page survey of family history and genealogy in the Río Abajo, this booklet was funded in part by an individual grant from the Historical Society of New Mexico, with additional support from the New Mexico Musical Heritage Project, and personal funds from the author. 

Armijo provides a survey of family history, primary source documents and genealogy to illustrate “people’s history.” With the combined use of oral history interviews from family and community members, vintage and contemporary photography, and primary source documents from family collections, archives and libraries, Armijo illustrates Nuevo Mexicano family history within a regional context:  that of the Río Abajo, or lower Río Grande valley of New Mexico.
This educational booklet is available in a Limited Edition for community centers, senior citizen centers, public libraries and historical societies, while copies last.
Award winning author of:
“Becoming a Part of My History:
Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors
Albuquerque:  LPD Press / Río Grande Books 2010