the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Catalina Delgado-Trunk


2015 recipient, Individual Artist

Artist Catalina Delgado-Trunk of Albuquerque has pushed the boundaries of traditional papel picado (cut paper) to a high art form. Much of her work is composed of complex panels that narrate Nahua mythology and explore contemporary themes. The roots of Mexican paper cutting reach back into pre-Hispanic times when obsidian knives were used to cut figures out of bark paper. In its modern form, tissue paper is used to form flags, typically displayed on a string, for decorating Day of the Dead altars. Delgado-Trunk is credited with transforming the art into larger works with more intricate designs and broad subject matter, with each piece telling a complete story. "As an immigrant living between two worlds, my language of art serves me well to bring down walls of misunderstanding as well as to build bridges of communication and comprehension between cultures," Delgado-Trunk said. "It is a metaphor for life because it is both fleeting and traditional." Born in Mexico City in 1945, Delgado-Trunk grew up in the Coyoacán district with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as neighbors and family friends. Delgado-Trunk and her family relocated to New Mexico in 2000, where she has worked closely with the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Museum of International Folk Art, giving workshops and talks. She has worked with the Teachers of English as a Second Language Association using Day of the Dead as a teaching tool. She collaborated with the Museum of International Folk Art's Gallery of Conscience, Youth Media Project and ¡Youthworks! on a project in which Santa Fe area youth created audio pieces on themes of immigration and belonging. Delgado-Trunk has been the subject of a ¡COLORES! TV show on New Mexico PBS. Her art has been featured at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. She was one of the artists selected in 2014 to represent New Mexico at the Crystal Bridges Museum's "State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now."