Culture

Meet Frederico Vigil, The Creator Of The Largest Concave Fresco in North America – Mundos De Mestizaje

When visiting the National Hispanic Cultural Center campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s easy to write-off the upside-down, bucket shape form rising from the ground. It stands alone with no distinguishing marks. There are no large crowds to hint at the remarkable secret hidden inside. Visitors will know they are in the right place when the gray asphalt and concrete beneath their feet morph into red—matching the building’s exterior.

Two, towering wood doors mark the entry into the nondescript building.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

When the doors swing open, it’s impossible to avoid looking up because the vibrant colors of the ceiling act as a magnet, drawing eyes upwards. Step into the 45-foot dome-shaped structure to get a better look, and there, in the small Southwest town of less than 1 million, the largest fresco painting in North America wraps around the ceiling.

El Torreón is the name of the structure which houses Mundos de Mestizaje.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The larger-than-the-Sistine-Chapel fresco made by Frederico Vigil. It took the Santa Fe native almost three years to have it approved and 10 years to complete it. The aerial artwork depicts thousands of years of Hispanic and pre-Hispanic history. Depending on your cultural background, some iconography is easy to spot and place in history. If you’re Mexican, La Virgen de Guadalupe, a portrait of the beloved civil rights leader Benito Juárez and the eagle, serpent, and nopal from Mexico’s coat of arms will stand out. But walk around the room, or sit in one of the lounging chairs that allow visitors to tip back and view the work at 180 degrees, and soon you’ll realize there are hidden figures among the more popular markers of Mexican and Indigenous identity.

“I’m a mixed man with many different bloodlines,” Vigil says on a phone call. “I’m mestizo. I wanted to show the history of what that means.”

For the project, Vigil consulted with seven scholars on Mesoamerican and Spanish historical culture in order to create an accurate depiction of the past.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

He says that just by looking at the Iberian Peninsula, there’s a mix of Romans, Celts, Muslims, and Phoenicians which is all tied into Spanish identity. Then, with the Americas, there’s Maya, Aztec and Toltec. The history of these lines iS not linear. They overlap, intertwine and blend together in a dizzying ride that Vigil worked to bring to life in Mundos de Mestizaje. 

The purpose is to show the viewer how interconnected and far-reaching culture is. Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd is depicted sitting next to Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, a Medieval Torah scholar, and physician. Chacmool, the pre-Columbian sculpture found throughout Mesoamerica shares space with George Washington and an African slave. 

“There are no purebloods, we are all mixed—or perhaps the only people who can say they are of pure blood are the Amazons or indigenous tribes that have lived in isolation,” Vigil says. “When people begin to study the past, they realize we, as a society, are not genetically one thing.”

Vigil learned the art of fresco painting from Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Pope Dimitroff. The couple might not be household names outside of the art community, but their bosses were. Bloch and Dimitroff were assistants to the world-renowned Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. 

Vigil connected with the couple thanks to the Santa Fe Council for The Arts.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The organization reached out to Vigil to gauge his interest in a scholarship learning from the pair. Now in their 70s, the two aging artists were making strides to ensure their knowledge was passed down to a new generation of creators. Art lessons were accompanied by tales of the past that included Kahlo, Rivera, and friends such as Leon Trotsky. There, he learned the complicated and time-consuming process of fresco painting.

A surface is rough plastered with a mix of lime, sand, and cement. On average, a layer takes 10-12 hours to dry. A painter can go to work an hour into the drying process and usually has between seven to nine hours of time to complete their design. The art then needs 7-10 days between coats. If the painter messes up, they have to scrape off the layers and begin again.

“I’m a procrastinator but when the wall is wet, you have to paint,” says Vigil. “Each painting is a new experience. It doesn’t get old.”

Vigil is currently working on a new 2,500-plus square foot monumental fresco at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

His new work tells the tale of New Mexico’s history as the oldest state in the U.S. to produce wine. He says the piece could take four to six years to complete. He’s currently in his second year.

The hours for the Torreón (where the fresco is housed) are Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 p.m., plus it is open by appointment, which can be scheduled with Juanita Ramírez at Juanita.ramirez@state.nm.us or 505-383-4774. The NHCC presents concerts in the Torreón in partnership with the Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers. The Torreón is available for rentals under certain circumstances and with some restrictions. 

READ: 20 Bizarre Nail Art Ideas That I Just Will Never Understand

Cardi B Updated Her Peacock Tattoo And The Glow Up Is Very Real

Entertainment

Cardi B Updated Her Peacock Tattoo And The Glow Up Is Very Real

iamcardib / Instagram

Most people with tattoos have one that they would not mind updating. It is probably your first tattoo or a tattoo that you got on a whim. If you’ve seen Cardi B, you have definitely noticed her peacock tattoo. Well, there’s been a major update on that tattoo.

Cardi B updated her peacock tattoo and is not shy about showing off the fresh ink.

View this post on Instagram

So inlove with tatt ♥️

A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib) on

There are a lot of things to notice about the new tattoo. First of all, the tattoo is beautiful. The new colors and the detail are so impressive. It is so well done that the tattoo does not look like a touch-up. Instead, the cover-up tattoo looks like a brand new tattoo.

Here’s a side by side so you can see the full glow-up of this tattoo.

The tattoo artist behind this cover-up went all the way in. There is more to this tattoo than a few touches here and there to change part. The entire tattoo was transformed. Even a butterfly got added to the new and improved flower under the peacock.

Fans are floored by the change in the tattoo.

We have seen Cardi B showing off that tattoo for years yet we have never really taken a good look at it. It is not bad but it is not the most incredible. Honestly, that is an almost necessary thing for Cardi B to do. She is way too famous now to have a busted tattoo covering her entire leg. We expect more now that she is the music sensation she it.

Like, we are almost embarrassed for the tattoo artist who first gave Cardi B that peacock tattoo.

But, you know what. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Some times people do the best that they can do and we can only assume that this is what happened there. Honestly, the new tattoo artist has a road map to follow so it could be argued that cardi B would not have this tattoo had it not been for the first tattoo artist.

Congratulations on the new ink, Cardi B!

This new tattoo is incredible. The artist who made this happen is clearly worth the money and clout. 10/10

READ: Haters Tried To Shame Cardi B With Photoshopped Images Of Her At Target And Boy Did She Clap Back

A Man Was Shot During A New Mexico Protest Against A Statue Honoring A Spanish Conquistador

Things That Matter

A Man Was Shot During A New Mexico Protest Against A Statue Honoring A Spanish Conquistador

Adolph-Pierre Louis / Getty Images

As the world comes to an inflection point on race and history, several communities are working to tear down long-standing memorials to racism, enslavement and other human rights abuses.

Monuments to European conquerors and colonists around the world are being pulled down amid an intense re-examination of racial injustices in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

In a video of the rally, shots could be heard as protesters tried to remove a statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate.

As protests take place across the country demanding statutes honoring blatant racists be taken down, the calls have been met with controversy for many. It’s no different in New Mexico, where protesters had gathered to remove a statue honoring a brutal Spanish conquistador. The protesters were met by a group of armed counter-protesters who were there to “protect” the statue.

Video taken at the scene shows protesters attempting to topple a statue of Juan de Oñate using a rope tied around the statue’s neck before four gunshots are heard. Additional footage shows a physical altercation between protesters and a man in a blue shirt before gunshots.

The scene turned into chaos as people ran for cover. Police in riot gear could be seen taking at least two people into custody as some protesters heckled the officers. It was more than two hours before the area was cleared.

In the end, one protester is in the hospital with critical injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

Several videos of the shooting have popped up on social media – but it’s unclear who is guilty of firing the shot.

On Tuesday, a police statement said detectives arrested Stephen Ray Baca, 31, and that he was held on suspicion of aggravated battery. Authorities previously said several people were detained for questioning.

However, a militia group known as the New Mexico Civil Guard had reportedly arrived at the scene to protect the statue from protesters – and they were heavily armed. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has not confirmed whether the shooter was a member of the militia.

“We are receiving reports about vigilante groups possibly instigating this violence,” said APD Chief Michael Geier in a public statement. “If this is true will [we] be holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including federal hate group designation and prosecution.”

But who was Juan de Oñate?

Credit: Susan Montoya Bryan / Getty Images

Juan de Oñate was born in Mexico (then part of New Spain) and set out to govern the New Mexico region for Spain in 1598, crossing north into the Rio Grande Valley through what is now El Paso, Texas with several hundred settlers.

To Native Americans, Oñate is known for having the right feet cut off of tribal members. After Oñate tried to force the Acoma to pay taxes, the tribe fought back, but were beat by Oñate’s men and enslaved for the following twenty years. Oñate was later charged with war crimes in Mexico City and banished from New Mexico

The protest in New Mexico is the latest in growing calls for racial justice.

Credit: @theconversation / Twitter

The protest against the Oñate statue is just one of dozens taking place throughout the country as thousands call for racial justice after the police officer-involved killing of George Floyd on May 25. Statues symbolizing the Confederacy have been either removed by public officials or toppled or disfigured by protesters calling for their removal. Additionally, protesters have toppled statues of Christopher Columbus, and officials in Dallas have removed a statue of a Texas Ranger with a well-documented racist history.

Several politicians have already come out in support of removing the controversial statue.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced late Monday after the shooting that the Oñate statue will be removed. “The shooting tonight was a tragic, outrageous and unacceptable act of violence and it has no place in our city. Our diverse community will not be deterred by acts meant to divide or silence us,” Keller said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out the victim, his family and witnesses whose lives were needlessly threatened tonight. This sculpture has now become an urgent matter of public safety.”

Other New Mexico officials have also spoken out since Monday night. “Historical trauma can carry weight for centuries. Juan de Oñate’s violent colonization and brutal enslavement of Pueblo people was not heroic,” wrote New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich on Twitter. “Removing a statue glorifying this man is only one important step in coming to terms with our state’s fraught history and building a stronger sense of reconciliation and understanding between all New Mexicans today.” Heinrich also called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the shooting, noting that armed civilian militias have appeared at other New Mexico protests in recent weeks.