Spring 2019


Juliana Vallejo

Juliana Vallejo is an artist from Colombia who is now based in the Washington, DC area. She focuses on large-scale, expressive portraits, using her bare hands and feet to apply paint to canvas.

In her application, she described herself as an artist this way: "I use art as a way of self-exploration, of getting in touch with myself and digging into my subconscious mind, my buried thoughts and ideas...I aim to express the complexity of humanity and to provide a path for viewers to connect with the work, themselves, and others."

During her time here, she intends to create a new body of work that will express the influence that Ajo's people, environment and surroundings will have on her while she is in residence. She hopes to bring faces of the Ajo community into the art she will create.


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O. Gustavo Plascencia

O. Gustavo Plascencia is a photographer and mixed-media artist who currently teaches at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Our committee was intrigued by his multimedia pieces that combine photography and found objects, and how the landscape in and around Ajo might influence him creatively.

In his application, he described his work this way: "All of the images in my work talk of the duality – and sometimes conflict – between domesticity and utilitarianism, personal and communal, self and society. By rearranging and reconstructing stories, landscapes or memories, I explore ideas of home, belonging, loss, self, gender, and domesticity."

He grew up the Northern Mexican state of Coahuila, and believes Ajo will be a perfect setting to further explore the themes of home, belonging, longing and domesticity.

Website: www.ogplascencia.com


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Karma Henry

Karma Henry is a visual artist based in California. A member of the Fort Independence Community of Paiute Indians, her striking contemporary paintings include more traditional arts and images as well as modern aspects. Paiute lore and family stories are the basis of her work. During her residency, she created new paintings that combined Ajo landscapes and abstract stencil overlays inspired by the architecture she discovered here. Karma was in Ajo January 5-19, 2019.

She said of her residency, “The environment played an integral part in how I took my process apart and re-tooled it for Ajo…My experience was a great reminder that it can just take a literal different point of view sometimes to move forward in the work.”


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Te Atiwei Ririnui

Te Atiwei Ririnui is a traditional Maori weaver from Auckland, New Zealand. His passion for weaving stems from a desire to keep the tradition alive so that the craft is not lost. During his residency he created a new Kete Whakairo (pattern basket) using materials native to New Zealand, with a complex Maori “Stairway to Heaven” weaving pattern. He also spent time with indigenous artists from Arizona and New Mexico to better understand why and how their art culture is important to them. Te Atiwei was in Ajo January 5-19, 2019.

Upon returning to New Zealand, he wrote of his residency experience, “The exhibit at the Arts Under the Arches was amazing to see… I was able to share stories of my works and how my time in Ajo had helped to shape my understanding of raranga from a Māori perspective by learning about the weaving techniques of the indigenous of Tohono O'odham.”

Click here to see a recent video about Te Atiwei’s work.

FALL 2018

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Sean Paul Gallegos

Sean Paul Gallegos is a visual artist living in Albuquerque, NM who uses discarded consumer goods - in particular, Nike sneakers - to create small, handwoven sculptures and jewelry based on sacred and ancestral objects. Sean Paul worked on a Sonoran Desert-inspired 3-dimensional work during his residency. He was in Ajo September 16-30, 2018.

Sean Paul wrote of his residency experience: “The perks, guest accommodations and studio are amazing but the real silver lining in this opportunity is the willingness of the community to interact and express their generosity…”


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Linley Logan

Linley Logan is a multimedia Seneca artist based in Washington State. While in residence he worked on a large-scale sculpture of a serpent made from recycled plastic jugs, drawing from his native oral tradition and that of other indigenous people, including the Tohono O'odham. Linley was in Ajo September 16-30, 2018.

Linley said of his residency experience: “Being able to work in my studio for on average 14 hours a day with the longest day being 17 ½ hours on my proposed project was dope for me as an artist.”

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Emma Lindsay

Dr. Emma Lindsay came to Ajo all the way from Brisbane, Australia. Primarily a painter, she focuses on endangered and extinct species. While in residence, Emma created work about personal encounters with cactus, plants and animal species that survive in arid desert landscapes. Emma was in Ajo October 2-16, 2018.

Emma wrote of her residency experience: “The work I made was not what I'd planned. However - the work produced was very new and experimental, deeply imbued with encounters experienced directly in Ajo with local people, materials and and the environment.”


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Gregory Spaid

Gregory Spaid is an Ohio-based photographer and art professor at Kenyon College. While in residence, he worked on incorporating Sonoran Desert flora into a series of "environmental portraits" that explore the nature of trees and the influence they have on our lives and on the health of our planet. Greg was in Ajo October 2-16, 2018.

Greg says of his residency experience: “The Sonoran Arts Residency is truly unique, unlike any others I have experienced or heard about…I feel like I left a piece of me in Ajo and am missing the committed people I met in that spirited little town.”