November’s Featured Artist: Arnulfo Pena

According to Wikipedia, November is a month of many observances: it’s National Novel Writing Month, Native American Heritage Month, and National Veteran and Military Families Month. Of course, it’s also the start of the holiday season.

Lucky for you, gallupARTS has you covered. We’re celebrating all of the above with special events, workshops and art shows. Check out our November Calendar for all the info.

This month’s featured artists also checks several of November’s boxes. Born Arnold Peña, Arnulfo Peña is a native Texan of Mescalero Apache descent. Arnulfo just recently moved Zuni, NM and we are very pleased to have him showing at ART123 Gallery as part of our Veteran Artist Group Show.

Arnulfo has had a long career as an artist: he sold his first painting when he was in the fifth grade and he says that early success set him on a lifetime of painting. After serving a tour in Vietnam in 1969 and earning 3 bronze stars, Arnulfo received a full scholarship to the University of Texas at Tyler where he pursued and earned his Fine Arts degree.

He describes his style as “Southwestern Art.” However, he says it is constantly evolving and changing. “I have redefined my style again recently, relying on themes that are closest to my heart,” he says. These themes include his adopted Zuni family, Pow Wow friends, American Indian culture, heritage, stories and traditions as well as his experiences in Vietnam. With the bold strokes and aggressive style, Arnulfo says hopes to stir in viewers the same emotions he feels when he is with his people, “the Native Americans who are proud descendants of a rich history.”

“This painting is inspired by historical events of the treatment of American Indians. The Face is painted white because the Government wanted us to be white. The Lips are painted white because we were not allowed to speak our own language. The Eyes are painted red for the tears of blood that was wrongfully spilled.”

Arnulfo has had several solo shows over the years and he regularly participated as a featured artist in the annual “Santa Fe Days” Event in Carrollton, Texas. Among his career highlights and honors he includes the murals he has painted, a painting commissioned by a German gallery and a show at the Fort Worth Public Library downtown.

In addition to painting, he enjoys teaching art, mentoring young artists, and being with friends and family. He also enjoys attending and participating in the Renegade Nation Color Guard activities of which he is a member.

“This painting is inspired by John Trudell. Freedom is never free.”

See four of Arnuflo’s paintings in ART123’s Veteran Artist Group Show, opening on Saturday, November 11 from 7 – 9pm and running through December 5.