If you live in Santa Fe, you probably know us, or have seen our shiny aluminum mobile gallery, Axle Contemporary, on the streets of the city for the past three years. If you live elsewhere, you might have read about us in the national press.
We occasionally create artworks which move beyond the mobile gallery. The Renga Project is one of these. It brings the poetry of 49 New Mexico poets to the public on a changing sign in downtown Santa Fe. It then engages 52 visual artist who respond to the stanzas with a linked series of drawings which we'll publish with the finished poem, as a book. The Renga Project is inspired by the great sucess of our Haiku Roadsign project, from 2011.
The year-long Renga Project will expose thousands to a public art and poetry collaboration created by over 100 people.
On June 21st, 2013, we'll install a beautiful wooden signboard, complete with a small roof near the corner of Guadalupe Street and Cerrillos Road, in the Railyard Park in Santa Fe. Each week we’ll hang a new stanza on the sign. Renga is an ancient traditional collaborative form of poetry from Japan. Poets write short stanzas which respond to what has come before. Our Renga will be written by 49 New Mexico poets. Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate Jon Davis will start each of the four seasonal sections. The other stanzas will be written by 24 poets selected by him and an additional 24 poets selected by them. There will be 6 stanzas at a time on the sign. As each new stanza is added, the oldest will be removed. The public will experience, over the course of a year, a changing and evolving 52 stanza collaborative poem.
In addition, we’ll invite 52 New Mexico Artists to create a linked drawing which illustrates the poem. We’ll publish a book at the close of the project with the full poem and the full linked drawing. There are 3 versions of the book, an affordable paperback, a series of four seasonal handmade miniature japanese-style folded books, and a beautiful limited edition handmade accordion book. All of this will culminate with a reading of the poem with the poets at the New Mexico Museum of Art and an exhibition of the drawings in the Axle Contemporary mobile gallery in the summer of 2014.
Please contribute to help us make this project. And spread the word to let others know about it.
Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman,
Find out more about Axle Contemporary and Jerry and Matthew here: www.axleart.com