Communal Altar Project Invites Santa Feans to Reflect and Connect in the Railyard Park

Santa Fe, NM – The fall equinox brings a new art installation to the Railyard Park. The O’Gah Po’Geh Altar Project is a public art project oriented towards healing through creating a space for grief, joy, and connection to ancestral lineage. The project is presented by Earthseed Black Arts Alliance and Walk the Talk Santa Fe, and created by a collective of collaborating artists.

The O’Gah Po’Geh Altar Project exists to be a focal point for honoring the intersectional struggle for liberation and well-being by the marginalized communities of Santa Fe & New Mexico at large. Developed by a multicultural cohort of artists, the altar is an offering to the entire Santa Fe community, but specifically rooted in the communities and lineages held by the creative cohort – comprising members of the Indigenous, Mestize/Chicane, Black, and Immigrant communities.

This project is directly inspired by and connected to the current Civil Rights movement that began with the murder of George Floyd and has spread across the country and around the globe. 

“Our mission for this project is to serve as a spiritual and aesthetic beacon for healing at the intersection of the movement for Black lives, the fight for Indigenous liberation, and the safety and well-being of the Latine/Chicane community.”

      – Tigre Bailando (lead designer/contributing artist)

The site-specific altar was built in situ over six days from adobe and reclaimed & wild-harvested wood. The four sides of the altar are oriented to the four cardinal directions, each side featuring a ceramic mask created by four different local artists, facing the homeland of that artist’s ancestors. Each side also carries a poem/prayer, again written by four different local poets addressing their unique experience in this world. 

 “As an immigrant, it’s always hard to grasp a sense of home/community in the US, but the altar shows the true spirit of what community means or could mean to me: namely people coming together to build, share and heal.”

        – Fei Xie (contributing artist)

The work is installed in the space directly in front of the red rock wall’s corrugated tunnel and below the Railyard Park parking area. 

Railyard Park was chosen as the site for this project due to its central location and original intent as a “park for the people.” The beautiful layout of the park and the broad scope of folk who frequent it, along with the Railyard Park Conservancy’s commitment to equitable stewardship and community enrichment are all inspiring values that make it the perfect location for the altar project.

Members of the Santa Fe community are invited (and encouraged) to participate with the project by leaving offerings, messages, & prayers on the altar, or simply by sitting with it and connecting to their own depth of experience.

“The altar is a means for people to come together and grieve the mistreatment of BIPOC, but also to bring some kind of peace to anyone who may need it at the time.”

      – Savannah Ortiz-Junes (contributing artist/writer)

A part of the Railyard Art Project, the O’Gah Po’Geh Altar Project is on exhibition at Railyard Park from September 22, 2020 – March 23, 2021.