Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University alumnus Wovoka Trudell’s art exhibition, “I Am the Lost Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell,” is featured at the new onesixsix art space at 166 Bridge St. in Las Vegas, New Mexico July 17 – 27. The artist’s reception for the exhibition is July 20 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The onesixsix art venture is the product of three generations of Trudell artists rooted in Highlands and Las Vegas.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve had some sort of drawing tool in my hand,” said Trudell, a 1994 Highlands graduate and Las Vegas resident.
Trudell said as he got older, he also experimented with painting, sculpture and photography.
“But my passion has always been drawing. I use it as an outlet, as a way to escape. At the same time, I use it as a way to connect,” Trudell said.
Trudell said he loves the simplicity of drawing.
“All I ever needed was something to draw with, and on. That’s still all I need,” Trudell said. “In the words of artist LeRoy Neiman, ‘drawing is my backbone.’”
Trudell said he has been a big fan of the American singer-songwriter Chris Cornell, who died in 2017, since the 1990s.
“This exhibition didn’t start out as a tribute series, but rather as a drawing of one of my favorite Cornell songs. Before I knew it, drawings were accumulating and as each piece was framed, the idea of a show formed. Five months and 14 drawings later, we have an exhibition,” Trudell said.
Trudell traces his personal history to his birth on Alcatraz Island during the 1969-1971 Native American occupation. The only baby born on the island during that time, he is the son of the late Native American activist, poet and musician John Trudell and Las Vegan Fenicia Ordóñez, who earned an art degree from Highlands.
“I credit my lifelong love of the arts and music to my parents. My mother is a visual artist and my father’s forte was the spoken word. Poetry was a big part of his legacy,” Trudell said.
Tara Trudell, Wovoka Trudell’s sister, is also part of the new art venture at onesixsix, along with their mother Fenicia, who owns the art space. Tara earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in media arts and technology from Highlands in 2014.
“We envision this site as a pop-up art space, a temporary art exhibit, where we will feature artists in all genres,” Tara Trudell said. “We have built a list of artists we are currently working with while we explore the vision and goals for the space and an online gallery, which will be coming soon.”
Tara Trudell’s daughter Daisy Trudell-Mills, one of the upcoming featured artists, earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from Highlands in May 2019. Earlier in the year, she became the first Highlands student to receive a National Museum of Women in the Arts scholarship.
“My niece, Daisy, is just beginning to tap into her extraordinary potential,” Wovoka Trudell said.
The hours for the Wovoka Trudell exhibition are July 17–19, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; July 20, 1 – 7 p.m. with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.; July 21 – 23 by appointment only by calling 424-214-9201; and July 24 – 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.