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A Land for the Imaginative

Local Voices
ivanastar /

The diversity of people and vast, high-desert landscapes of the Four Corners region have inspired many artists throughout the centuries. From ancient Native Americans who left petroglyphs throughout their environment to painter Georgia O'Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams, the creative find the area endlessly stimulating.

"Old-timers who didn't know when they were born tied it to some event. I once asked Jose Teofilo of Laguna about his birthday. He said that he and a friend climbed up a hill and saw a train, and it blew its whistle. It scared them because they had never seen a train before. They ran home. He said he was about eight years old when the railroad first came," in the early 1880s.

-- Lee Marmon, of Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico, has specialized in photographing Native American elders during his long and extraordinary career.

"I was raised a farmer—all Pueblo Indians are farmers. I am affected by the water, the feed, the harvest, and the replenishment of that cycle every year. I grew up in an area that is rich culturally, socially, and environmentally. There is a spiritual bond when you have all these things together. The blessing is that it's connected to my ancestry.

"If you come from a powerful community, you want to come back. When I left, I realized how my people and so many others were influenced by this place. Taos always attracts mysterious characters who are escaping from their lives."

-- Musician and composer Robert Mirabal, two-time Grammy Award winner, is a painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman, and farmer.