Thursday, March 3, 2016

Seeds and Some Earth at the IAIA Student Leadership Summit

On February 25th SeedBroadcast and the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station partnered up with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) for their Student Leadership Summit. It was a day filled with workshops, tours, and presentations meant to spark the stories and actions of empowerment at IAIA.

During this event the newest member of the SeedBroadcast collective, Ruben Olguin, presented his workshop on making “puddle” seed pots out of the Sandia red clay he recently harvested. Ruben is a New Mexico based artist working in earth materials and electronic media. His work draws from his mixed Pueblo and Spanish heritage. His sculptures incorporate traditional/hand processes and incorporate sound and electronic elements. Ruben says, “My practice focuses spending as much time in the desert as in the computer lab.” Ruben has exhibited internationally and his full-dome video work has been seen in Jenna, Germany, Miami, Fl, Santa Fe, NM, and Albuquerque, NM. He has exhibited earth sculpted sound and video installations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Marfa, TX. His practice involves community outreach, developing local connections, and teaching STEM-Arts workshops for k-8 grades incorporating land and habitat elements. Olguin achieved his MFA from The University of New Mexico Department of Art and Art History in electronic arts, and holds a B.A. in cinematic art. His goals are to make and teach new media art along with socially engaged art practices. We welcome Ruben as a SeedBroadcaster!

As each group of students came by the Station, Ruben discussed the history of seed pots and their working genius. He then talked about different processes for making these. Students and visitors alike volunteered to jump into the mud with him and build a little seed pot to take home. These were then air-dried until rigid enough to move.

It is no wonder that so many cultures around the world made seed pots to store their seeds in. Clay is a superior material for seed storage. The clay keeps the seeds out of light, stabilizes the temperature, wicks away moisture, and keeps rodents and bugs at bay. It is literally a protective body holding the seed and keeping its earthy dreams alive until the day comes when it is buried, transformed, and gives its passage to set roots and create life again. The seed pots are beautiful, heavy, balanced, and imperfectly perfect with fingerprints molded inside and out.

The IAIA community explored the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station and found seeds to take home. One young lady was trying hard to find a regional corn that was short season, hardy, and tolerant of everything a dry, rocky, too cold/too hot home could nurture. Luckily we still had some Millennium Corn from seed saver Bevin Williams up near Cortez. It seemed like the perfect fit. She was so excited and grateful that these seeds were being shared with nothing more than an honest word of thanks and pass it on. Thank you!

We also met Daniel McCoy Jr who is a student at IAIA and determined to finish school and get back to his roots in Oklahoma where he can share a love of the simple, resilient life of farming and gardening with his family. He shared his story with us. Listen here:

IAIA is an arts institution based in Santa Fe, New Mexico devoted to Native American and Alaskan Native Arts education. Students attend from around the country with the majority coming from many of the 562 federally recognized tribes creating a truly multi-cultural space of learning. What also makes IAIA unique as an educational site is its emphasis on connections between the depth of cultures past, present, and future while emphasizing well-being, sustainability, and the land which bring this community together in creativity and strength. This is part of the IAIA Center for Lifelong Education (CLE).

As part of this programming the CLE facilitates a community garden, greenhouse, and raised-bed low tunnels, encouraging students to be involved and bring their skills and efforts to helping make local food and health a part of their everyday. From the latest technology in season extrenders to traditional waffle gardens and terraces, the community at IAIA experiments with growing food and growing a deep cultural knowledge of life based in land, plants, seed, food, language, and culture.

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