Alleyway Mural Project

Óódááł | Everyone Moving Forward

by Marina Eskeets

In winter 2018/2019, gallupARTS collaborated with the Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District to produce an open call for the first in a series of alleyway mural projects. Diné artist Marina Eskeets is currently creating an autobiographical storytelling mural that touches on issues of cultural identity and environmental justice in the alleyway between 1st and 2nd Streets and Coal and Aztec Avenues in downtown Gallup.

Artist Statement: Óódááł | Everyone Moving Forward is a colorful depiction of two young Diné girls walking behind a flock of sheep. They blow bubbles with their gum and wave their hands in the air to keep the herd moving. They walk past a twisted cedar tree with geometric patterns framing them. In the far background are four wind turbines, mimicking a corn field. Blue gramma grass grows at their feet. The color pallet for this mural accentuates the local landscape and vegetation.

I am from the greater Gallup area, named by the local Indigenous community as Naná’áztiin (The Curved Road). My grandparents lived next to us and from the time I could walk properly, my older sister and I would herd my grandmother’s sheep. At the end of the week our grandfather would pull out a heavy bean sack that was filled with quarters and sit it on the bed. He would pay us each 25 cents for tending to the sheep. I was so happy to receive these shiny coins because I knew I could buy bubble gum from the trading post next to the post office with them. Each piece of gum was 10 cents which meant I could buy two and save the other piece for the next day. These memories are valuable to me because a few years later my grandparents would sell all their sheep and instantaneously I didn’t walk across the land like I once did.

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