Two associate professors within the Honors College at The University of New Mexico collaborated on a public art display that’s showcased in Downtown Albuquerque.
"We’re anticipating the moment we will be back, immersed in our communities..." - Megan Jacobs, UNM associate professor
Monsoon Messages illuminates the windows of a vacant commercial building at the corner of 1st Street and Gold Avenue.
The artists behind the display are Megan Jacobs and Amaris Ketcham. The two combined their passions of photography and poetry to create their piece. The project is part of the Windows of the Future initiative that aims to reinvigorate dormant commercial spaces through public art.
“It was fun to collaborate with a poet because I’m a visual artist,” Jacobs said.
Sponsored by 516 Arts, Vital Spaces and the Paseo Project, the initiative garnered a lot of attention, prompting artists from all over the state to participate. Organizers reviewed 200 project submissions and 60 artists were chosen. The selected installations sprawl all the way from Taos to Albuquerque.
Monsoon Messages pairs haikus, written by Ketcham, with monsoon-centered images the two created using an alternative photographic technique called cyanotype, a process discovered in 1842. The project’s theme centers around the anticipation of monsoon season in New Mexico—a season of relief and renewal. Jacobs and Ketcham drew metaphorical connections to the same anticipation so many are experiencing today in a time of isolation and social distancing.
“When we started this project, it was around the time when all the restrictions were in place and everything was shut down; we compared that to summer and how the heat can feel oppressive but when the monsoons come, it’s like that moment of revival and relief,” Ketcham said.
“We’re anticipating the moment we will be back, immersed in our communities, once the pandemic is over. Our challenge within this artwork was to evoke a feeling of anticipation and relief,” Jacobs said.
Monsoon Messages is on display at 100 Gold Ave. through Aug. 15.