gallupARTS is very excited to announce that Diné photographer Hannah Manuelito has been selected as its summer 2018 Native Artist-in-Residence.  gallupARTS received 16 very worthy, moving and inspiring applications for its inaugural Native Artist-in-Residence Program from artists across the region, from Gallup to Zuni to Window Rock. The selection was made by a majority-Native selection committee through a Request for Proposals and interview process.

About gallupARTS’ Native-Artist-in-Residence Program

Supported in part by a $10,000 “Challenge America” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), gallupARTS’ Native Artist-in-Residence program is designed to provide an emerging Native artist from the Gallup, New Mexico region the rare paid opportunity and much-needed resources (i.e., space, materials, and time) to create original works of art responding to a relevant, community-based social justice issue. The program will also engage the broader community with the selected Artist-in-Residence, their project, and their chosen issue through different forms of free and accessible public programming starting this May. The program will culminate in a month-long show of the Artist’s work at ART123 Gallery this August.

About the Selected Artist-in-Residence

Originally from Ganado, Arizona, Ms. Manuelito recently graduated from Arizona State University (ASU) with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. At ASU, Ms. Manuelito explored the convergences and divergences between the cultures and places in which she grew up: rural and urban, Navajo and non-Navajo, “traditional” and non-traditional. Ms. Manuelito now works for the Native American clothing brand OxDx Clothing, utilizing her fine arts background to create innovative high fashion photographs for the company.

Follow her on Instagram @itshannahduhhhhh.

About Ms. Manuelito’s Residency Project

by Hannah Manuelito

As gallupARTS’ Artist-in-Residence, Ms. Manuelito will strive “to bring light and truth to Indigenous identity through portraiture work of the most crucial part of Diné culture, the matriarchs.” Ms. Manuelito says that having grown up partially on the Navajo Nation but mostly in an off-reservation city, she struggled with her identity: “I questioned if I was a ‘true’ Native or not, and that haunted me for years.” Now, Ms. Manuelito wants to empower Indigenous people to be proud of themselves however they identify by honoring who she sees as culture-bearers: the mothers, aunties, and grandmas who raised her. “Matriarchs are the backbone of the Indigenous culture,” she says. “By taking portraits of these important figures, I want to bring forth how these strong and important these women are and how many different forms they take. Some may be businesswomen, firefighters, politicians, young athletes and aspiring artists. We all don’t wear traditional clothing but we all respect and carry important Diné teachings.”

This May through July, Ms. Manuelito will at work in her studio inside ART123 Gallery in downtown Gallup, creating on a series of bold, powerful, beautiful and intimate photographic portraits of the influential Indigenous women in her life. For her project, she will be drawing on the style and methodology of Baroque era painting: “Thinking back to early art history, the Baroque period had many depictions of saintly women. Using dramatic lighting, Baroque paintings emphasize women’s strength. I would love to do the same with my portraits, placing Diné women in the scenery around the Diné Nation and staging and lighting them to show their grandeur.”

Schedule of Public Programs: 

1. “Open Studio”: Catch Ms. Manuelito at work in her studio at ART123 Gallery and engage with her project during her “Open Studio” hours starting May 15: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00pm – 4:00pm (“Open Studio” hours will run through July 26).

2. Artist Talks at ART123 Gallery:

– “Artist-to-Artist: Create without Fear” on Tuesday May 22 at 4:30pm

Artists, Hannah will share her experience building a career in a creative field, passing along insights, advice and motivation.

– “Portrait of the Artist as a City Girl” on Tuesday, June 19 at 4:30pm

Learn about Hannah’s self-portrait series “City Girl,” exploring issues of Indigenous identity. 

– “Residency Reflection” on Tuesday, July 17 at 4:30pm

Hannah takes a look back at the last two months, what she’s discovered, how her project as evolved and what she’s gained from her residency experience. She’ll also preview her solo show. 

If you require a sign language interpreter for any of the Artist Talks, please contact 505-488-2136 as soon as possible.  

3. Live Demos: Meet Ms. Manuelito at ART123, see a live demo or maybe even have your portrait taken during the following ArtsCrawls: 

– ArtsCrawl: Pop!: Saturday, May 12 (7 – 9pm)

– ArtsCrawl: Out of Hand: Saturday, June 9 (7 – 9pm)

– ArtsCrawl: Up in the Air: Saturday, July 14 (7 – 9pm)

In addition to these public programs, Ms. Manuelito will also be leading three youth photography workshops in Gallup, Zuni and Thoreau this summer.

This project is supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from the Southwest Indian Founation, gallupARTS Board Members and private donors. Thank you!