Diego Medina

Posted on: April 15, 2021


Diego Medina is an artist, poet, and educator from Las Cruces, New Mexico. His family is one of the original families from the historic Mesquite district, the Pueblo for the Piro-Manso-Tiwa tribe. Diego is a member of the Piro-Manso-Tiwa tribe and also has Irish ancestry, Raramuri ancestry, Genizaro ancestry, and Black ancestry. Diego’s work creates intricate metaphors that combine cultural knowledge and ancestral wisdom with passion and poetics, often with invitations to join in prayer. For Diego, prayer is the finest art because it informs our conscious will, our expressions of love, and strengthens our spiritual kinship. As an educator, he has worked both as a public school teacher and as a museum educator. Diego currently resides in Santa Fe and continues to do youth educational programming, particularly for Native and incarcerated youth. Diego is also currently one of the Story Maps Fellows at the Santa Fe Art Institute.


My art serves as visual maps for prayers, histories, mythologies, and often a combination of the three. Through visual poetry and symbolism i create images that guide the viewer through a spiritual process that allows them to immerse themselves in a narrative, or perhaps be guided in prayer. Prayer is central to my work because it is deeply connected to ancestral lifeways and spiritual kinship. Through intentional use of color, composition, symbolism, and shape, these visual maps utilitize the senses to create an empathy between the viewer and the story being told. My art also honors the history and culture of our Piro/Manso/Tiwa people of Las Cruces, a history that is harshly overlooked, and preserves our history and culture through visual documentation.


For this project i will create a series of illustrations on top of handmade adobe tiles from earth gathered at our old family home, in the old San Juan de Guadalupe Pueblo in Las Cruces as well as other sacred sites along the Camino Real de Tierro Adentro and painted with hand collected natural pigments. These tiles will tell the history of Pueblo people in Southern New Mexico (an area often overlooked in New Mexico history) and how we got there through visual metaphors and mythological symbolism and serve as prayers that combine land from all parts of the Camino Real, which was used for Native Slave trade, in order to offer both truth and healing to the history.

Learn more about Diego Medina here.

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