“Acequia Madre” is a series of surreal sunset and evening tours of the Taos acequia system led by the most infamous acequia mother of all, La Llorona. In these performative tours, we will not only learn about the historical and cross-cultural importance of acequias in Taos and around the world, but also befriend the multifaceted, ghostly mother we all learned to fear as children. Though her tale varies by culture, region, and teller, La Llorona has many lessons to teach us not only about her own story, but about our precious desert waterways and the people that use them (You!). Like acequias themselves, she is a complex and dangerous giver of life in desert communities around the world. A product of vast international, intercultural, and intergenerational collaboration (again, like acequias), she is a figure of incredible depth who reminds us that collaboration is key to creating a lasting impact. After all, acequias are a tool thousands of years in the making, built and perfected by South Asian farmers, North African Moors, Spanish colonists, and Pueblo Indians alike. But most importantly, acequias direct the flow of water by cooperating with the water itself: honoring its natural tendencies to achieve a common goal. Through this tour, we will not only discuss our local water infrastructure and folklore that surrounds it, but also the importance of kindness and cooperation in our desert home, as well as interdependence, empathy, and respect for nature and those around you.
About the artist:Rica Maestas is a burqueña artist, author, educator, and social practitioner working in Albuquerque, NM. An avid polymath, Rica derives her inspiration from the surreal aesthetics of the desert and Southwestern folklore, as well as topics in linguistics, critical theory, history, and film. She graduated with a MA in public humanities from Brown University in 2018, attending with the generous support of the University of Southern California Renaissance Scholarship, awarded for interdisciplinary study. In her creative practice, she is interested in vulnerability and whimsical connections, for which she has received numerous grants to produce experimental exhibitions and educational programs. She has also curated institutional projects, published written ruminations in diverse forums, and exhibited visual art and performance pieces nationwide.