(Tuesday, October 20, 2015) SANTA FE – On Veterans’ Day this November, a Veteran Memorial sculpture designed by NMSA faculty Cristina González and Jacob Sisneros will be dedicated to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by Hispanic veterans; in particular, Pete Padilla and Manuel Mora of Albuquerque’s South Valley. The Department of Cultural Affairs, National Hispanic Cultural Center, New Mexico Arts, and the families of Manuel Mora and Pete Padilla will hold this ceremony on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2015, at 10am, in the Manuel Mora and Pete Padilla Memorial Park on the National Hispanic Cultural Center campus.
González (NMSA’s Visual Arts Department Chair) and Sisneros (Visual Arts Faculty), who also run González + Sisneros Studio, designed their sculpture Warriors Repose on commission through capital funds obligated to the Memorial Park. The sculpture is inspired by the grand serpent columns which stand on top of the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza (a Pre-Columbian temple honoring warriors). González described the sculpture thus: “The memorial consists of two identical, 15-foot tall, CorTen steel structures facing one another and forming a literal and metaphorical connection between the Rio Grande Bosque and the NHCC campus. One structure is dedicated to Pedro “Pete” Padilla and the other is dedicated to Gregorio “Manuel” Mora, two young men from Barelas who perished in Vietnam.” She writes, “We are held by the narrative of war on the inside, and yet we glimpse beyond to the park, its surrounding architecture, and the unkempt, wild Bosque.”
Confirmed speakers at the dedication include New Mexico Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez, Department of Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales, Colonel Robert Cortez, NHCC Executive Director Rebecca Avitia, representatives of the Padilla and Mora families, Cristina González, Jacob Sisneros, and Reynoldo “Sonny” Rivera.
Cristina González and Jacob Sisneros collaborated on multiple projects at New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) before forming González + Sisneros Studio in 2013 for the purpose of designing and building Warriors Repose. New Mexico School for the Arts has greatly benefited from the inclusion of these two masterful artists in its faculty, both of whom add invaluable perspectives and experience from careers in the professional arts world atop rigorous visual arts curriculum.
NMSA-Art Institute Director Riis Gonzales remarked, “Many of NMSA’s Arts faculty members are not only exceptional teachers, but are also professional artists. We’re proud that they received this commission and we look forward to the public unveiling.”
NMSA Head of School Cindy Montoya stated, “By dedicating countless hours to the completion of this historical sculpture, Cristina and Jacob will have a lasting impact as role models for our student body and our NMSA community.”