Seeds: A Collective Voice – Mural Reception / Albuquerque

img_5788Priscilla Garcia | Chilili, NM – Listen

My name is Priscilla Garcia. I come from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I come from a historic neighborhood, Martinez Town. I now live in the mountains close to Chilili. I’ve known Jade for many years and she brought me into the project about a year ago.

Being part of the project made me more conscious and aware of our environment. I work with medicine and plants. I live in the mountain, so it just made me more aware of what I’m doing with plants and the animals, and of course the bees. And the whole environment.

She influenced me to look closer into the bees and into plants in a different manner. I’ve always worked with plants, but maybe never been so aware of what the honeybee and how important it was. We all bring something to the table for each other. Jade certainly has done that for me…. Not only in this project, but other projects that I have worked with her. I worked with her in the last project she did which was life forms with her mentor, Bill. So I was honored to do that with her. She’s brought many gifts to my life.

But this was a great one because I hope to move forward in my awareness with the environment because I live in the mountains and I work with the plants and the hiervas (plants), you know I make medicines and I try to help myself and others. I do have a disability that affects my nervous system and so I am up there to find medicine. And I guess without the bees… we have no plants, and without the plants we don’t have the circle of life. Thank you Jade for bringing awareness!

Well first of all…. Our community is very, very supportive. We have a very tight knit community, here. I am happy to be a part of it. And woooooow it looked awesome! Just up on the walls! All of them put together! And the presentation, all the colors of the seeds, and watching everyone in awe looking up and everyone looking so small compared to the size of everything! It was just surprising. Just happy, happy to see everybody.

I just want to thank Jade and everybody that put all the effort and all the hard work. All the volunteers and all the sponsors, and everybody.


Tanya Musselwhite | Albuquerque, NM – Listen

My name is Tanya Musselwhite and I have been in New Mexico for 18 years. I moved here, my family was in the military. I love New Mexico! I became involved in the project as an artist because Jade Leyva had brought the bees project that she was working on to the Rail Yards market and was working on them in the kids zone. She asked me if I could paint a mural for the project and I just found the community involvement inspiring.

So in the Gaia of the Earth Goddess piece, I have always felt a deep connection with the earth and I wanted to just represent that with the mountains and the sun. The basket of fruit represented abundance in our earth and the connections with the seeds and the fruits. There were also flowers in the piece and those were mostly decorative aspects. Also in the hair, I put blue streaks there with red and that was kind of to tie in the earth with her self and the energy of the earth all together.

I’ve done a few collaborative pieces with other artist. More of a one person would do one part of a piece and another person would do another. This is the first community group project that I’ve ever done in New Mexico. I can’t think of really any others. I’ve seen large murals around town that I imagine are community based, it definitely takes more then one person. In my experience it’s usually been a couple of people.

img_5778Gabriel Vega | South Valley, NM – Listen

My name is Gabriel Vega. I am from Tucson, Arizona. I’m a new resident to the Albuquerque area. I’ve been enjoying all the cultural events that Albuquerque has to offer.

I work in agriculture and I know how vital seeds are to food production, for life. I also enjoy art and I wanted to see how well the two work well together.

I use to work for a seed conservation company, which is an organization that saves seeds to protect the genetic diversity of old seed air looms that were grown in the Southwest by Indigenous communities. I’ve always enjoyed growing food and I got a job here. I work in a farm in the South Valley and I love it!

I enjoyed the trees mural. The Virgin, is also a wonderful piece. But there’s also a black and white one with a silhouette of deer and trees, which was really beautiful.

By having school gardens and incorporating art in the form of projects with seeds, with plant matter, leaves, branches, and incorporate that into the school systems and the community. I think that’s one way to do that.


Tamara Trejo |Albuquerque, NM –  Listen

My name is Tamara Trejo and I am from Venezuela but I have been in New Mexico for the past 7 years and I moved here from the Boston Area with my husband for his job. Currently…well gosh I’m a person with a lot of interests. I love gardening I love art, I like social justice and I’m very interested in international development issues as well. Currently I work with Cuatro Puertas which is a local nonprofit…we mainly do economic development and we try to bring together the rural areas…rural agriculture and kind of agriculture in the city and bring those two different communities together somehow. And we try to support farmers and local growers by providing ways of saving, you know so like, sort of like business education. We also have a seed bank. It’s like the largest seed bank or the only seed bank there is in the state. So we inherited it from Ghost Ranch and other places. So we’re kind of working on getting that organized and catalogues….we’re very very small. There’s only a few of us that work there.

We supported jade on this project as well. We’ve been working with her helping her get seeds, supporting her, and you know, however we can. So we have that. In the fall we’re hoping to start a cool training – well I think it’s cool – but it’s going to be a training program for people who want to learn how to be seed growers. So we’re developing this… we want it to be very technical. But also fun and holistic, you know. you’re not only going to learn how to grow seed but also how to grow sustainably and how to take care of your soil, your water, your people, a very holistic way of growing food but also taking care of seed and eventually concentrated on growing seed. And it can be a main project but it can also be a little project, and anybody can do it. At your house, on a little balcony with a little pot. Or if you have a farm you can do it on the farm.

We know that there are a lot of issues around buying seed and quality of seed, yeah ownership and let’s not even get into genetically modified seeds and all that. So that’s our main projects. But outside of that, my husband and I run with some friends a non-profit in Nicaragua. And recently we bought a piece of land, a little farm, and we’re hoping to…there we also do economic development. Nicaragua has been the second poorest country in the Americas. So the ideas was to try and deal with economic development issues and health. You can’t really address health without seeing economic development. How people live and access to food and access to resources and that influences a lot the well-being of people. So that’s the other little thing. Our personal project.

We do a lot of things. And you know if our house we love to garden so we have a tiny orchard in our backyard and we’re trying to grow stuff, everything we can in our yard.

Jade has done a gorgeous job of showing how seeds are related to all kinds of things even to religion. Social justice. In India for instance, she was telling me that one of her murals is dedicated to farmers in India who have committed suicide because they cannot, you know they can’t afford to buy seed anymore. So their livelihood has gone down the drain because of the commodification of seed so they resorted to committing suicide. It’s that serious for some people. It costs people lives in some places. And also it brings it back to us. It’s Monsanto who is doing this. And Monsanto is from the US. So I feel like… I am U.S. citizen. I wasn’t born here but I’ve been here long enough that I feel like I’m part of the system in a way. While I’m not supporting Monsanto, I feel like in a way it’s like creation of this system. Yeah, no. her project puts seed in this like global seed, you know. And brings it to the table, this conversation that most people are not having if you are not involved in this seed activism world.

Wherever you get your seeds, if you buy conventional seeds, and you open the packet – just by the fact of you opening this packet it has this legal agreement. If you read it, it says: by opening this package you agree to follow whatever rules – it’s like a legally binding document. Just opening a seed packet. People don’t know this. I didn’t know that. It’s very important. Because the food, where does it come from? It comes from the seeds. So this is a very important issues. it’s very dear to me because you know I’m very concerned about food justice and injustice and access to food and how it effects people of economic backgrounds but then also across borders, how it affects people in other countries. Like, you know, genetically modified corn has effected Mexico growers in a really horrible way. And some people tell stories that people have abandoned their fields and have become migrants because they couldn’t compete with the corn coming from the US. Or the GMO corn is being grown cheaply in Mexico as well. So it’s effecting a lot of people as well. And we hardly ever see it in that way. You know we eat three meals a day. And everything come from a very little seed.

We vote with our forks. It’s like the food you buy, you’re supporting that. We do this without knowing it. And also I feel like it could also be a tool for making change. We just haven’t realized it. As consumers.


Aron Archuleta |Cuba, NM – Listen

My name is Aron Archuleta and I am born and raised in Northern New Mexico in Cuba, New Mexico. I have resided in Albuquerque on-and-off since 1989 and I recently moved back from Dallas, Texas.

I was invited to the show by my best friend Priscilla Garcia who has a piece showing in this installation and she has also helped on other aspects of the project. I really like the idea of the cultivation of seeds that near extinction and to bring awareness of the near extinction of the honeybee as well. I am really enjoying the whole show!

Well you really can’t really be a native New Mexican and not be immersed in the art whether you know it or not. A lot of times your right in the midsts of it and you are so immune to it almost, because it’s just everywhere. As a matter fact, that’s one of the things that I had missed living in Dallas, Texas, that there was not a culture. Near bye there was a cowboy culture in Forth Worth, but Dallas had no culture other then high culture, such as opera. And that’s not always available to all people without money and a certain status. Coming back to here, art is everywhere, it’s in the streets, it’s in the public buildings and private buildings… everywhere! And it’s really cool to be back into a community that is largely about art and culture.

Ohhhhh they ALL go together (artwork, culture and oral history)! I mean the conversion of it is liquid. It’s hard to find a definite in each aspect of it, because it’s so fluid. Especially in this area, in northern New Mexico especially, it’s just natural.


Sabino Hurbe |Albuquerque, NM – Listen

Mi nombre es Sabino Hurbe. Soy originalmente de Argentina. Una de mis amigas que estuvo trabajando el proyecto me invito a estar presente y apreciarlo así que aquí estoy.

Me parece fantástico que la gente tenga la exposición a algo tan creativo y positivo. Que tienen un buen impacto en la gente y un mensaje lindo.

Esta (hijo) muy entusiasmado y le encanta el arte y esta participando, fue lo primero que hizo. Miro un poco alrededor y vio que había gente participando en un proyecto y ya esta ahí el poniendo semillas entusiasmado. Es muy interactivo.

Llevo 8 años en Nuevo México. Me parecido (la cultura) muy interesante y diversa a pesar de que esta muy alejado des otros estados, digamos. Pero se encuentra mucha diversidad y culturas, gentes de distintos países y con una personalidad del estado pe parece muy lindo. Muy positivo.

Esta fuerte, muy fuerte (la comunidad Latina en Nuevo México). Lo que es los emigrantes Latinos que se expresan aquí y que tienen… yo como soy artista y músico… también tienen mucho espacio para ellos y mucho aceptación por todas las comunidades no solamente de los que son Latinos sino que también gente Nuevo Mexicanos y gente que también vienen de otros estados del país.

Musicalmente, es muy buena (la comunidad artística en Nuevo México). La ciudad se esta activando bastante. Faltaría quizás intervención del gobierno, en patrocinar los eventos, especialmente para que sean gratis, yo creo. Creo que la ciudad necesita… merece, tener mas exposición que no sean lugares cerrados, sino que sean lugares públicos donde los grupos puedan expresar su música y que la gente tenga acceso libre y gratuito.

img_5767Jessica Nixon |Albuquerque, NM – Listen

My name is Jessica Nixon and I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I lived outside of the state for about 3 years, and after those 3 years I was really excited to return. I love the local culture of Albuquerque and New Mexico as a whole, and the beautiful scenery that is captured here.

I heard about the project from a friend of mine, Tanya Musselwhite, who designed one of the pieces that’s on display. And it’s a wonderful display, and I love the community involvement here as well.

My favorite piece so far is the one designed by Tanya, its Gaia the Goddess of earth, and it’s a beautiful colorful piece that she did an excellent job designing.

I think the art scene is… I think it’s unique. It’s how I would describe it. It’s very representative of the unique culture that we have here in New Mexico. And I love seeing more art throughout the city as the art scene tends to grow more over time. As a Native New Mexican I have definitely seen more art throughout the city; street art, other projects like this one. Those types of things grow as a city is growing as well. And I think it’s a wonderful project.

img_5776Cory Calamari |Albuquerque, NM – Listen

My name is Cory Calamari. I’ve lived in New Mexico for almost 3 years now. I grew up and lived most of my life in Connecticut. I really love it out here, I love the scenery. It’s completely different from what I grew up with and it’s just awesome to look at every morning. I came to this project because one of my friend’s is one of the artist here, and I also like to look at different art. I would like to say that the Gaia, Goddess of the Earth is my favorite piece. I just like how it highlights the earth and the different seeds that were used in it.

I definitely think it’s a lot different here. Regarding the art, I like how there is a lot more use of vibrant colors. Almost a more joyous feel to it. As far as the culture goes, it’s totally different, I’ve been here for almost 3 years and I am still kind of going through the culture shock. Finding out something new every day. It’s exciting, I like it.



Alexandria Lyons |Los Lunas, NM – Listen

My name is Alexandria Lyons, I am currently a UNM student. I like to think of myself as somebody who is interested in food systems and I intern with a group called the Southwest Organizing Project. I am from New Mexico, I am from Los Lunas New Mexico…I heard about this project because I think that the National Hispanic Cultural Center tries to put events out to the community that have relevance to issues going on in the community and the fact that it was seeds was really cool for me. What struck me most about this artwork is that it brings to questions the ideas that we have about food and especially GMOs and these seeds and the food that we’re putting into our bodies that have been chemically engineered. and not necessarily, we don’t know enough evidence about this type of food and it brings me a lot of…it makes me a  little scared because you know this food has been put out and there’s not very much research on it.

I really like the artwork, I think it’s really creative. And it looks like it takes a lot of time because each seeds has its own identity, its own kind of characteristics and so trying to find where it fits is probably super interesting but also time consuming. To see the overall pieces, especially these huge murals is awesome.  

I think this is a great project and I think art should always play a piece when talking about activism and social justice and things that our community members find important and dear to their hearts.


Anna Horner |Albuquerque, NM – Listen

My name is Anna and I am 31 and I live in Albuquerque and I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota. And I teach Yoga here and I work with plants doing landscaping and learning about all the different things that grow in this climate and helping other people learn about it to. I came to an event at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, it was a film screening and there happened to be a community event before the film screening that I was unaware of and it was a cultural celebration day and the artist was at the event with one of her murals ever since.

I think it’s beautiful [the artwork] and I love the goddess pieces. The three goddesses of creation that she has. And I think that sort of encompasses a lot of the work that the artist puts out there, connecting really locally with culture through the animals and plants and images that are in the murals but then also connecting to these larger global ideas like goddess of creation, goddess of water, beauty, self-expression, creative expression. And the fact that she does the work with seeds and that so many hands have touched the murals makes the exhibit feel like a community celebration.


Dawn Schichten |Albuquerque, NM – Listen

My daughter was involved with the program in the beginning, and I came to meet Jade who runs the program tonight because I was speaking with her [my daughter], she’s traveling around the world right now, she’s in Maine, and she said that this would be happening. So I was delighted to come and see and that she has her poster up. She brought this program to a children’s camp when she was in New Zealand for a year. I’m very proud to see her picture up there, finally what she had done and has been doing.

They’re beautiful, they’re free and flowing and unrestricted…I just think it’s important as an artist myself to learn how to use any kind of material to have a voice and then there’s that connection for the children to learn that, you know, things grow from the Earth, and have expression, and make things, and they become things that are useful. So all the way around it’s a win-win.

My name is Dawn and I am an artist, and also…well many many traits so we’ll just leave it at that. I’ve been here since 1978…anytime anybody gets a chance to have a space to show what they’ve been doing is also important so it’s great, the center…that’s usually the hard part is to get yourself seen.

Tom Frouge and Jade Leyva
Hakim Bellamy

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