Our Most Precious Resource:  Art for Water Protectors

Our Most Precious Resource: Art for Water Protectors

Multicolores’ note: We’d like to introduce a guest blogger, Cheryl Hastings! Cheryl is a friend of Multicolores, an environmental advocate and water protector. We love hearing her take on the meaning she gleans from three of our artists’ recent embroidery artworks

Embroidered artwork featuring a tree with a window onto a nature scene
“The Wisdom of Nature” by Thelma Esperanza Cubur Solloy

I was so pleased to see embroidery pieces with water themes in your recent virtual trunk show. I’m very involved personally and politically with water issues in New Mexico. My community there has been fighting to keep our water for over twelve years now, with no end in sight. Business interests in New York and Italy see an opportunity to make money drilling deep wells and transporting water to developments in other parts of our state. We challenged them in court and won, the water pirates filed an appeal, and we won again. Now they’ve filed a third time and will apparently continue to do so. The wells they propose to drill would be very deep and would drain our own shallow ones.

“My community… has been fighting to keep our water for over twelve years.”

I purchased three embroidered story cloths during the trunk show. The first is The Wisdom of Nature, showing many aspects of the natural world, by Thelma Esperanza Cubur Solloy. I plan to give this piece to a legal defense organization, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which represents us water protectors pro bono.

Embroidered artwork depicting a dark-haired woman pouring water from the sky
“Mother of Nature” by Rosa Lidia Cubur Solloy

Another piece, The Mother of Nature by Rosa Lidia Cubur Solloy, shows a woman with flowing dark hair pouring water from the sky. This piece reminded me of the Indigenous women who walk for water. This spiritual group called Nibi Walks was begun by an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) grandmother, Josephine Mandamin. (Nibi means water in the Ojibwe language). Josephine asked people to respect the truth that water is life; because women give life, they are the spiritual keepers of water. She said we are water and born in water. We walk for the water and as we heal the water, we heal all of life. The Water Walkers carry water and pray as they walk. They have walked the shores of the Great Lakes and the rivers of North America. Josephine Mandamin walked over 10,000 miles in her life.

“Slow down, walk quietly, and speak silently to the spirit of the water.”

Today, the leader of Nibi Walks is Sharon Day, a member of a spiritual lodge of the Anishinaabe People. Sharon has said water is the source of all life, and it is our responsibility to protect that life: “if we can slow down, walk quietly, and speak silently to the spirit of the water.”

“Our Earth is in the Hands of Humanity” by Margarita Xicón Burrión

The third piece of embroidery is Our Earth is in the Hands of Humanity by Margarita Xicón Burrión de Cubur: an illustration of a woodland and water flowing from cupped hands. Margarita explained her design: “Our earth has suffered at the hands of humanity. Her fate is in our hands.” I will put this beautiful work in my studio, where it will certainly encourage conversation about ways to protect our most precious resource.

–Cheryl Hastings
Magdalena, New Mexico

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