Identity: Open Studio and Farewell Sweat


The New Mexico landscape is a place of inspiration, moving some of our country's greatest artists, Georgia O'keefe, Ansel Adams, Walter De Maria. Takoja's founder Judith Sauceda was moved as well, and created Takoja as a place for artists to explore the landscape and their process; our Artist in Residence, Rob Clifton, is providing a unique opportunity to share his experience as an artist at Takoja, welcoming us to his studio for discussions and reflections. There will also be space for a dialogue centered around the visual identity of Takoja, a collaborative process and project we've been working on this year with Rob.

And in a final acknowledgement of our time together, at sunset we'll host a final sweat, fire, and feast. A chance for you to reflect on your self, and to give thanks to the land for all the abundance it has provided. Emerge with new identity, rejuvenated, healthy, loved, and transformed. A final celebration with friends, new family, and New Mexico Hatch Green Chili !

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Rob Clifton Takoja 2017 Artist in Residence

A visual messenger who aims to portray the possibilities of human communication on alternate planes of perception. His work utilizes the symbolic language found in ritual, meditation and prayer to create abstract pathways to the world of unseen phenomena. Clifton received his BFA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014 where he studied painting, iconography and installation art. He is an award-winning graphic designer and mural artist and his work has been featured at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

Mario Sauceda Steward of Ceremonies

Son of Judith, Mario was ordained in 2004 as a spiritual guide and road man, and acts as the family’s current guide and leader of various Lakota ceremonies. Mario also has a background and practice as a professional artists since 1981, working with oils, acrylic, and some 3 dimensional work. In tandem, he is trained as a massage therapist with a lifelong dedication to martial arts, and healing.

Quinlin Messenger: Steward of Legacy

Grandson of Judith, he is currently helping to lead the direction and evolution of Takoja, and has taken a key role as the family’s fire keeper in tandem with studying alternative healing modalities as a reiki practitioner and meditation guide. With a background in architecture and sociology from the University of Oregon in Eugene and Japan, Quin’s education and life experience have shaped a deep interest in supporting and encouraging contemporary designers, artist, and thinkers to take active roles and responsibility for their communities, and our changing planet and climate.

Serena “Nina” Sauceda Steward of Traditions

Granddaughter of Judith, Nina acts as the carrier of sacred familial totems, and takes on a crucial role in supporting ceremony and practices. With a deep love and passion for music, she is an active participant in the sharing and singing of ceremonial songs, and has followed the teachings of Judith as a card reader, and prayer guide. In concert with her gifts, Nina has developed a deep understanding of local flora, and uses this knowledge  as a maker of natural tinctures and elixirs tuned for healing and solace.