PUEBLO, Colo. (September 11, 2020) — A new exhibition is open at El Pueblo History Museum in the museum’s Community Gallery. Artist Shelby Head’s La Sierra highlights the decades-long struggle of the beneficiaries of the 1844 Sangre de Cristo Land Grant in the San Luis Valley to regain and maintain access to their inheritance: the rights to access food, water, grazing, and other resources vital to the economic and cultural stability of these communities in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The exhibition includes seven video oral histories with beneficiaries of the land grant, reflecting on the 50-year range war with the Taylor/Cielo Vista Ranch. It also includes artwork by land grant heirs Huberto Maestas and Carlos Sandoval and interpretive text.
“La Sierra tells a powerful story that resonates across southern Colorado,” said Alyssum Skjeie, director of El Pueblo History Museum. “We are excited to be able to bring this exhibition to Pueblo and share the art and voices that Shelby has collected during her residency at Adams State University.”
La Sierra’s run at El Pueblo History Museum will include a number of virtual or hybrid public programs, including with participants in the long land rights struggle engaged by Head for her project. “Working in active partnership with the community during the making of La Sierra, the exhibition captures moments of heartfelt and complex conversations I had the privilege of experiencing over the course of my residency,” said artist Shelby Head. “The participatory element of a socially engaged art practice is key, with the artworks created holding equal importance to the collaborative act of creating them.”
Open through November 14
El Pueblo History Museum, 301 N. Union Ave, Pueblo
Free admission in the Community Gallery
The 1,100 square foot Community Gallery is always free to visit and has housed exhibits including the Museum of Memory, Without Borders: Art Sín Fronteras, and The Bell Rings, about Pueblo’s historic Central-Centennial high school football rivalry. La Sierra complements the museum’s current Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibit, fostering conversation on the often violent and complicated histories of land use, rights, and access.