Renowned Artist Creates Leonard Peltier Mural at ACPJ
By Sayrah Namaste, Indigenous Rights Center volunteer
Have you seen the vibrant new mural on the west wall of the Peace & Justice Center? Nationally known artist Gregg Deal, a Pyramid Paiute Indian, created the eye-catching mural of American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Leonard Peltier in late April. The Indigenous Rights Center (IRC), home to the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, is located inside the Peace Center. It was formed at the behest of Leonard Peltier, who maintains his innocence after 40 years of imprisonment. The IRC coordinated the mural and hosted a public reception for Deal. He gave his original painting to Leonard’s son, Chauncey Peltier, the co-director of the IRC with the hope Leonard will be released one day and receive it.
We are so pleased that an artist as significant as Gregg Deal would come to Albuquerque to create this work of public art, said Peter Clark, co-director of the IRC. ―We hope the mural draws more people into the campaign to get clemency for Peltier. Deal has been featured in the National Museum of the American Indian, been a guest on the Daily Show, and was an artist in residence at the Denver Museum of Art. He often highlights issues Native Americans face, including the fight to stop using Native people as mascots.
Former City Councilor Rey Garduño, who led the successful change of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, was also honored at the reception. Years ago Garduño helped with the mural on the Peace & Justice Center’s north wall and was excited to see Deal create a mural adjacent to it.
Learn more about how to support the clemency campaign at www.whoisleonardpeltier.info.