Museum of International Folk Art

Letís Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS

July 07, 2013


Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS opens in the Museum of International Folk Art’s Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience on July 7, 2013 in conjunction with the International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe. This is the fourth in a series of annual exhibitions in the gallery and runs through January 5, 2014.

Panel discussions with the artists, workshops, lectures, and other public programs will take place during International Folk Arts Week with others planned during the run of the exhibition. A schedule of events is at the end of this release.

Since the gallery’s inception in 2010, exhibitions in this space have explored how traditional artists join forces in the face of change or disaster to provide comfort, counsel, prayer, and hope through their art. It’s this focus that has earned the space membership in the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience (

Beginning with Let’s Talk About This, exhibitions in the gallery will not be formally organized by professional curators alone—they will be community-driven, co-created, collaborative, participatory, and cumulative. Visitors and community members become part of the conversation from the very beginning—helping to shape the exhibitions and contribute to the dialogue throughout the exhibition’s run. The focus remains, however, on folk art’s power to engage and connect communities around issues of social justice.

Let’s Talk About This was unveiled on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012, as an “exhibition-in-progress.” The original call went out for visitors and local artists to respond to an initial set of a dozen or so pieces of HIV/AIDS-related artworks from around the world. Since then, the gallery and the exhibition have evolved. Early visitors engaged with the issues raised by this first set of works by talking, writing about, stitching, or drawing their responses. These were left behind for others to see and engage with, creating a kind of asynchronous conversation. Through this cumulative process, the exhibition has grown, changed course, and developed in response to community needs and sentiment.

Those initial works were by Spanish Market artists Andrew Montoya, Diana Moya Lujan, Tomas Salazar y Weiler, and John Gallegos; by members of N’MPower, an LGBTQ youth resource center in Albuquerque; and, by several artists from other countries. These works, along with a block from the AIDS Memorial Quilt commemorating eight New Mexicans who died from the disease, started the conversation.

Gallery of Conscience Director Suzanne Seriff likens the exhibition-in-progress format and the multi-layered conversations to jazz, saying, “Just as improvisation in jazz begins with a melodic phrase, invites a response, and builds on a theme, this exhibition is rooted in the magic of improvisatory call and response.”

By the “formal opening” on July 7, visitors will view a greatly enhanced exhibition. And some of the artists in both the exhibition and participating in this summer’s International Folk Art Market will be present at the opening; a South African bead worker, a Rwandan basket maker, a Peruvian retablo maker, a Cuban naïve painter, and a Mozambiquan wood sculptor, as well as New Mexican and Native American artists. Visitors may leave their own thoughts, contribute to a community quilt, or participate in other cumulative projects. A complete list of exhibit artists is below.

Why showcase folk art as a response to HIV/AIDS? Studies have shown that one of the most effective ways to reach people is through traditional, familiar, hence readily understandable, forms of storytelling, primarily the visual and performing folk arts. A figurative embroidery piece entitled Let’s Talk About This inspired the exhibition’s title. Its creator, South African artist Maria Rengane, said of the importance of talking about the disease and speaking out for treatment and education, “You must not be ashamed of speaking out, telling the community! When you keep quiet you sign your own death warrant.”

The participation and sharing of stories and experiences by these local community partners helped to shape Let’s Talk About This: Southwest CARE Center Santa Fe; N'MPower; and the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, among others.

On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012 a sign at the gallery’s entrance read, “Everything here is a work in progress.” Those viewing the show after July 7, 2013, like previous visitors to the exhibition-in-progress, will be invited to contribute their remembrance and to continue the improvisatory dialogue that began on December 1, 2012.

High resolution exhibition images are available for download from the Museum of New Mexico Media Center here.

Funders for Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS are Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn, International Folk Art Market - Santa Fe, International Folk Art Foundation, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, American Folklore Society, and Southwest CARE Center.


Media Contacts:

Steve Cantrell, PR Manager



Suzanne Seriff, Ph.D

Director, Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience.



Laura R. Marcus Green, Ph.D.

Community Engagement Coordinator, Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience


505-690-7380, cell


The Museum of International Folk Art Public Information

The Museum of International Folk Art houses the world’s largest collection of international folk art, with the popular ongoing exhibition Multiple Visions: A Common Bond in the Girard Wing. Changing and traveling exhibitions are offered in the Bartlett Wing and exhibitions highlighting textiles are featured the Neutrogena Wing.. 

The Museum of International Folk Art is a Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Location: The Museum of International Folk Art is located on Museum Hill™, Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail.

Contact: 505-476-1200 or

Days/Times: Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Museum is open 7 days a week, from 10 am to 5pm with Free Friday evenings during the summer until 8 p.m. From October to May, the Museum is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Friday and closed Mondays.

Admission: Adult single-museum admission is $6 for New Mexico residents, $9 for nonresidents; OR $15 for one-day pass to two museums of your choice (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of International Folk Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, and New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors) OR $20 four-day pass to the four museums listed above. Students with I.D. receive a $1 discount. Youth 16 and under, MNM Foundation Members, and New Mexico Veterans with 50% or more disability always free. Participating Blue Star Museum, active duty military personnel and their families admitted free all summer.

Sundays: New Mexico residents with I.D. are admitted free. 

Wednesdays: New Mexico resident seniors (60+) with I.D. are free.

Field Trips: There is no charge for educational groups attending the museum with their instructor and/or adult chaperones. Contact Leslie at (505) 476-1217 to arrange a group tour or field trip to the Museum.

Artists and Public Programs

Artists in both the exhibition and in the International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe

Camurdino Mustafá Jethá, Mozambique

Roberto Gil Esteban, Cuba

Janet Nkubana, (Gahaya Links Cooperative), Rwanda

Lulama Sihlabeni (eKhaya eKasi Art and Education Center Cooperative), South Africa

Claudio Jiménez Quispe, Peru

Schedule of Public Programs

Sun, July 7

1-4 p.m. -  Exhibition opening and refreshments hosted by the Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico.

1-2 p.m. - Meet the exhibition artists in the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience

Cabordino Mustafá Jethá, Mozambique

Claudio Jimenez Quispe, Peru

Roberto Domingo Gil Esteban, Cuba

Lulama Sihlabeni, South Africa

Diana Moya Lujan, New Mexico

Andrew Montoya, New Mexico

Debbi Wersonick, New Mexico

John Gallegos, New Mexico

Tomas Salazar y Weiler, New Mexico

Curtis Billie, N’MPower, New Mexico

Louisa Baca, New Mexico

2:30-3:30 p.m. - Gallery of Conscience Director Dr. Suzanne Seriff moderates.

Opening and opening day events are free with admission. New Mexico residents with ID free on Sundays.

Tue, July 9

1-2 p.m.- Panel discussion with the artists: Using folk art to commemorate those living with HIV or who have died from AIDS.

Cabordino Mustafá Jethá, Mozambique

Claudio Jimenez Quispe, Peru

Roberto Domingo Gil Esteban, Cuba

Lulama Sihlabeni, South Africa

Andrew Montoya, New Mexico

Jane Gabaldon, New Mexico

2-4 p.m. - Hands-on community art project with the artists:  Memorializing those we’ve loved and lost.

Create a quilt-square for the community quilt in the gallery or make a memory tag and tie it onto the memorial fence also in the gallery.

By museum admission. Children 16 and under and MNMF members always free.

Wed, July 10

1-2 p.m. -  Panel discussion with the artists: What’s happening in our communities around HIV/AIDS advocacy, education, and awareness.

Cabordino Mustafá Jethá, Mozambique

Claudio Jimenez Quispe, Peru

Roberto Domingo Gil Esteban, Cuba

Andrew Montoya

Louisa Baca

Curtis Billie, N’MPower

2-4 p.m. - Hands-on community art projects with the artists:  Getting the message out about HIV/AIDS and What’s happening in our communities.

Your choice: make one or two projects; a protest or World AIDS Day sign, or a story box depicting a personally meaningful HIV/AIDS issue, both to be placed on view when finished.

By museum admission. New Mexico seniors free on Wednesdays.  Children 16 and under and MNMF members always free.

Sat, July 13

Gallery Talks with Gallery of Conscience Director Dr. Suzanne Seriff and exhibition artists

1 p.m.Commemoration and Memorialization

3 p.m.Getting the Word Out About HIV/AIDS

Sun, July 14

11 a.m.What’s Happening in Our Communities

Admission to the Gallery Talks on Sat. and Sun. are by admission to the International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe; market tickets for Sat. and Sun, $10 all ages.

Please note that the museum parking lots are closed in preparation for International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe. Use the free Park and Ride Shuttles at the First Baptist Church at Old Pecos Trail and Camino Lejo, from 9:45a.m. to 5:15p.m.

Upcoming Exhibition Programming

Sun, Nov. 3, 1-4 p.m.

Slide Show and Conversation: Stitching Memories, Saving Lives: Santa Fe Stories of the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Community members share stories of family members, friends, artists, advocates, entrepreneurs, and visionaries whose lives are stitched into the memorial quilt panels.

Thu, Nov. 14, 5:30-8 p.m. Audio Revolution on Museum Hill: Connecting Artists, Empowering Youth

A listening event in collaboration with Youth Media Project of Santa Fe. Featured will be the media projects participants created on HIV/AIDS advocacy, education, and community outreach.

Dec. 1, 2013, time TBA

World AIDS Day Observance

Moderated Panel Conversation: Cultural Approaches to HIV/AIDS & World AIDS Day Community Ceremony

Experts using different cultural perspectives to address HIV/AIDS issues share their work followed by a Q & A session and a candlelight ceremony on Milner Plaza.








Related Photos

DŪa Mundial de Luta Contra o HIV/SIDA | World AIDS Day, 2012
NM Power member
Orpah Tower (detail)
AIDS Memorial Quilt Block 3561
Orphan Tower

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