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Talk on “Protector Saints of New Mexico” November 14

The Branigan Cultural Center History Notes Lecture for November will be Dr. Elizabeth Zarur speaking on Protector Saints of New Mexico: Colonial Art and Architecture. The presentation, originally scheduled for September, will take place Thursday, November 14 at 3 p.m. at Branigan Cultural Center and is free and open to the public.

 The Spanish conquest of the territories of present New Mexico was accompanied by the evangelization of the native populations by the Franciscan Order, as decreed by the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church. The Council of Trent in 1563 defined the role of the arts as a form of religious propaganda and educational material to spread the new doctrines of the Church. A large part of the evangelization process involved ambitious architectural projects at pueblos as a means of diverting the native population from their traditional beliefs. Structures built at the pueblos of Laguna, Acoma and Zuni by missionaries demonstrated a combination of Spanish, Moroccan and Native aesthetic expressions. The interior decoration of the pueblo mission churches reflected a blend of European and Native religious beliefs and aesthetics whereas churches constructed in the villages of Las Trampas, Córdova, Truchas, Santa Cruz de Cañada, Rancho de Taos and Santa Fe are heavily influenced by European baroque art. The pilgrimage site of El Santuario of Chimayó has altars filled with images created by santeros with non-academic training.

 Dr. Elizabeth Zarur is an associate professor of art at New Mexico State University with specialization in Latin American art and architecture. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in Art from the University of Georgia. Dr. Zarur has been the curator/co-curator of numerous international exhibitions over the last 15 years, including El Favor de los Santos: The Retablo Collection of New Mexico State University, Ora et Labora: A Arte Sacra no Século XXI (The Sacred Art in 21st century Brazil), Master Weavers of Peru: Wari/Inca Legacy, The Native Textiles of the Americas: Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States and Seeking the Divine. Her book Art and Faith in Mexico: The Nineteenth-Century Retablo Tradition has been instrumental in focusing attention on the importance of the NMSU Art Gallery retablo collection. Dr. Zarur has presented her research nationally and internationally and has been the recipient of a number of national and international grants.

 The Branigan Cultural Center is located at 501 N. Main Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. For more information, contact the Branigan Cultural Center at (575) 541-2154 or visit the Center’s web site at

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