Putting the Continent Back Together

Albuquerque’s newest mural envisions a brighter world

Karie Luidens or https://linktr.ee/southwest_ness

Walls often serve to divide people.

For the visionaries of NSRGNTS, however, walls can also bring people together.

The art collective recently unveiled their latest mural at HomegrowNM Trading Post, on the corner of Central Avenue and Morningside Drive SE. “Abya Yala: Indigenous Freeways” depicts a single continuous landscape from south to north, united by an overarching rainbow.

“A lot of people, nowadays, when they think of borders, they think that borders are protecting us,” says Votan Ik, who founded NSRGNTS just over 20 years ago.

As he sees it, however, border enforcement fundamentally harms the land, fosters exploitation, and sows conflict.

“That is not something that we as Indigenous people of this continent have executed, right?” he says.

“Borders are still a very new concept,” adds Leah Lewis, Ik’s partner and fellow NSRGNTS activist.

Seeking to share their vision of an undivided continent, Ik and Lewis teamed up with local artist Saba to design the “Abya Mala” mural, supported by a grant from the Native Health Initiative.

Read more of this story at https://medium.com/southwestness/putting-the-continent-back-together-63ffd8ec3994 by Karie Luidens of #TheSouthwestness

Artists Votan Ik, Leah Lewis, and Saba unveiled the mural “Abya Yala: Indigenous Freeways” on May 22. Photo courtesy of NSRGNTS
The mural’s southern end features a Maya temple, smiling saguaro, and boy wearing a jaguar headdress with Kawaii-style eyes. Photos by Karie Luidens
Pueblo girl
The mural’s north end features a Pueblo girl alongside an adobe Sabahut complex. Photos by Karie Luidens
The finished mural beams with smiles behind the artists who designed it: Saba with his wife Shawna and two children (left), and Votan Ik and Leah Lewis with their son (right). Photo courtesy of NSRGNTS

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