March 1 through April 24, 2014
“These works are prayers in visual form. During times of grief, suffering, contemplation, hope, and peace, I see the colorful birds of El Salvador’s folk art as symbols of the soul and a continual source of inspiration. The spirit of the paloma in this work represents the soul of my child, my self, my people, and my ancestors.
On March 24th, 1980, during the Lenten season, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated after speaking out against the military’s genocide on my relatives, the poor Indigenous in El Salvador. He said, ‘I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise up in the Salvadoran people.’ Monseñor Romero’s words comfort me that death is not final.”
– Rebekah Crisanta, Artist
Rebekah Crisanta is an emerging contemporary folk artist. Based in St. Paul, her work is rooted in the folk art traditions of El Salvadora and Mexico. She studied art at St. Olaf College and Hotekilen Folkehogskole in Norway, but is self-taught in a myriad of indigenous folk art techniques. Born into a family of artists, musicians, and theologians, Crisanta learned traditions such as repujado and papel picado at home. Her work often deals with themes of Indigenous identity and theology, specifically Liberation Theology of El Salvador.
Rebekah has exhibited at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, the MN History Center, and curated Dimensions of Indigenous at Intermedia Arts. She is currently illustrating a bilingual children’s book with her father called Ñuñuco, which she hopes to produce as a play. Rebekah is a founding member of Electric Machete Studios, a collective of Xican@ artists on the West Side of St. Paul. For the past 10 years, she has worked as a teaching artist with non-profits. She aims to revitalize folk art forms and help others to heal through the practice of artistic traditions.