Santa Fe artist Niomi Fawn creates art with purpose and curates art shows and projects that are designed to empower a wide range of community members, most often including LGBTQ artists.
Fawn, who grew up in Hawaii and California and spent time during each summer visiting her grandparents in New Mexico, has been interested in photography since high school. She has many happy memories of developing her own photos in her grandfather’s darkroom.
Her collages, which may include the deconstruction and reconstruction of 15 to 50 photos in each piece, are inspired by ideas from books and daily life experiences. “When I come across something I want to explore in a deeper way, I work it out through my art,” she explains.
Fawn’s art is relationship-driven. Proudly calling herself a queer artist, an intersectional feminist and trans-inclusive, Fawn communicates self-identity through her work. She and her wife frequently are portrayed in her pieces. “I want to normalize queer relationships,” she says.
Making sure that LGBTQ artists have opportunities to showcase and sell their work motivates Fawn’s work in art curation, which became a more serious endeavor during the five years she was part of the Meow Wolf collective.
Since Fawn’s initial foray into curating 10+ years ago, she has curated more than two dozen shows in town. Many have taken place at Iconik Coffee Roasters. “In a few cases, the artists I curated were invited to do shows at major Santa Fe galleries several months after their Iconik shows,” Fawn adds. “It’s rewarding that their work was seen and recognized by other curators and gallery directors.”
Fawn founded Curate Inc. 2014 as the umbrella company for her curatorial activities. Last year Curate Inc. was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Santa Fe Arts Commission for a public art project called HITCH, which involved 10 artists retrofitting downtown and Railyard city parking meters with functional art sleeves that support secure bike parking.
In July, Fawn bought a new 6’ x 10’ cargo trailer, set it up so people in wheelchairs and with strollers can get inside and established the Show Pony Gallery Gotique. This curated mobile gallery space features a variety of items, such as t-shirts and coloring books, that range in price from $25 to $500 and have been created by more than a dozen artists.
“I’m interested in ‘world bridging’ through art,” Fawn says, “which for me means creating bridges between all kinds of different people.”