Out of the aftermath of the New Mexico Cuarto Centenario (the four hundredth anniversary of the Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate's 1598 settlement in present-day New Mexico) came a pledge to create a memorial for the conquistador. The memorial was envisioned as a tri-cultural endeavor, with Reynaldo “Sonny” Rivera, Betty Sabo, and Nora Naranjo-Morse collaborating. Because of his complex legacy, the three artists could not agree on how to represent Oñate. Rivera and Sabo ultimately crafted a series of bronze statues of Oñate and his entourage titled “La Jornada,” while Naranjo-Morse created an earthwork titled “Numbe Whageh.” These two approaches give physical form to a contested history, and present very different modes of remembering New Mexico's colonial past.
- © 2011 by The Regents of the University of California and the National Council on Public History. All rights reserved.