September 17, 2015

Place, Culture, Folklore & Language

By Joanna Keane Lopez
Cebolla Canyon
September 6, 2015

Cebolla Canyon is an incredible place of historical cultural intersections and landscape. Up the mountain from where we set up camp is an ancient indigenous village. The stone ruins of the home structures are still visible. Pottery shards are everywhere. While I was up there a friend of mine found an ancient flute and arrowheads.

I also went to the springs which was about 3 miles southeast of camp. At the springs, there were abandoned and eroding settlements made of stones and adobe. Broken glass and porcelain were strewn all around the dilapidating structures. I found many small treasures including a small porcelain doll foot.

Today, the last day of our time here before returning to Albuquerque, I went to the petroglyphs that are northeast of camp.  Human figures, animals, spirals and geometrical shapes were carved into the stone. Near the petroglyphs, is a grave site. A slab of grey stone with a cross carved into it lays quietly surrounded by high grass.
While in Cebolla Canyon, I focused on collecting fiber material from black sage to make paper and documenting the plant through drawings and sensorial touch. I also worked on a stop motion with Harriet Fawcett that we titled, The Crying Woman. The stop motion is inspired by the story of La Llorona and an English folktale from Harriet’s childhood. We are working with materials found from the various Land Arts sites to create the film. I also want to include contemporary environmental and political dialogue into the storyline.

While in Cebolla Canyon, I re-realized how important language, culture, identity and place is to me. I’m fascinated by the story, history and folklore of names. Place name, plant names and names in general. I’m engaged in the historic use of plants including their edible, medicinal, fiber, dye, building and beautification properties and how it relates to regional folklore and utterance.   

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