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Artist Eric J. García paints satirical sci-fi images of white colonization with pink cactus juice

I lived in Albuquerque and then in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s. I grew up in the Deep South but moved to New Mexico after college to pursue university studies. While I was there I started working in this small vegan food shop / restaurant / market and I started learning about all things alien. At the time New Mexico seemed to be some kind of ground zero for alien / UFO culture and I absorbed it all like a true believer / skeptic. Friends of the vegan market have turned me into Fortean times and Art Bell; customers sipped wheatgrass juice while telling me how they weren’t human but actually came from other planets and only visited Earth for a short time; a graduate school friend was doing his thesis on the conspiritual community in Taos and attended recruiting events held by the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult, where he learned how to reach the “Kingdom Level Above Human”. (It was only a few years later [1997] when the leader of the group, Marshall Applewhite, and 38 members of the group died in a mass suicide, catalyzed by their belief that Comet Hale-Bopp was coming to pick them up and take them to the next level.)

1997 was also the year I made my pilgrimage to Roswell, New Mexico, to see the 1947 “UFO crash site” and to visit the International UFO Research Center and Museum, which proudly displays one of the aliens allegedly found in the accident. I was lucky enough to be in Roswell for the 50th anniversary, and the small town festival celebrating all things alien did not disappoint, from the tent where people displayed the implants they had found inside their bodies, made of “unknown metal”; the expert who lectures on all different types of alien eyes and hands; to the 25-cent “alien bean bag toss” that some high school students had organized as part of the celebrations at the local high school soccer field. I also drove a school bus from the soccer field to the crash site, where people were selling hats with alien-themed antennas and ice-cold Coke. I honestly never really believed in aliens or UFOs, but not vehemently either Not believe in all of this. Mostly I was (and am) fascinated by the culture of it all and how fervently so many people believe. One thing is very true though, New Mexico culture appears to be infused with aliens / UFOs.

To my delight, I recently discovered an artist who is doing brilliant things with this New Mexico love for all things alien, turning everything upside down and pointing to white settlers as true aliens. New Mexico artist Eric J. García is currently participating in the Roswell Artist-in-Resident Program, where he spent his time creating “science fiction satirical images of white colonization, painted in prickly pear ink.” In an article for Hyperallergic on his current work, García writes:

When I was studying Chicano Studies at the University of New Mexico, my professor compared the Spanish conquest of Mexico to the famous science fiction novel by HG Well War of the worlds – a highly advanced alien army invading and conquering the world. From some points of view, this is exactly what happened to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Although these space invaders did not come from outer space, they actually invaded space and space that was already occupied.

With this perspective, I began to create satirical sci-fi images of colonization. For example, I placed a Spanish galleon not on the water but in the air like a spaceship, with a tractor beam that kidnaps the natives. The irony of so many UFO and alien encounters happening “outside the West” reflects the real-life alien invaders who “explored” and colonized the “American West”. Another iconic ship of the colonization is the covered wagon, which represents the landing from a flying saucer heading towards the junipers of an iconic western landscape. Hopefully, these humorous little drawings are underscoring one of the biggest hypocrisies in the United States. The natives have been conquered by aliens and now feel like aliens in their own lands.

You can check out her brilliant pieces and read the rest of the article here.

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