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Catholic Symbolism shown in New Acquisition

Tapia1The Rockwell Museum is pleased to announce See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Say No Evil by Luis Tapia is now on view in the Southwest Lodge and represents the unique blend of cultures found in the northern New Mexico region (Puebloan, Spanish, and Anglo), and contemporary Hispanic culture within the United States.  The work includes contemporary subject matter and powerful religious symbolism in an effort to tell stories about the spiritual, political, and social world we live in today. 

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Say No Evil depicts three tiers of hierarchy within the Catholic church; a Priest, a Bishop and a Cardinal.  The three clergy men, all of diverse cultural decent, are posing to depict the  traditional Eastern fable of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Say No Evil and are atop a painted gazebo structure.  A cupola, comprising three roosters, rests on the top of the structure.  At the foundation of the traditional columns are symbolic depictions of saddened women and young children.  This piece represents the Spanish Colonial period and addresses the Catholic Mission System and its abandonment of established parishes throughout the southwest. 

“This contemporary wood carving embodies one of the strategic missions of The Rockwell which is to challenge the perspectives of our viewers through engaging art,” says Kirsty Buchanan, Curator of Collections at The Rockwell.  

LuisInStudioTapia is a wood carver, born in 1950 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Inspired by native Spanish-American music and Hispanic civil rights issues, Tapia began to explore his own heritage in the early 1970s, and as a result began carving figures in churches around Santa Fe.  His wood carvings are both traditional and contemporary. Tapia primarily depicts traditional religious scenes and is made from wood that is then painted using bright colors.  

“I see my work as an extension of the Hispano folk art tradition that was established in New Mexico in the 17th century and has continued to develop here during the past 400 years. My approach is to bring that tradition up-to-date so that it reflects and comments upon the religious, political and social issues that are important in today’s world.” –Luis Tapia

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