• Monday: 10am-5pm
  • Tuesday-Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10am-5pm
  • Friday: 10am-7pm
  • Saturday: 10am-5pm
  • Sunday: 10am-5pm

1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501


SITElab 12

What Endures

New Mexico-based artist and researcher Nina Elder creates work that examines geologic time, the influence of human activity on the environment, and changing cultures and ecologies. Elder’s cross-disciplinary practice takes the form of drawing, painting, narrative performance, creative publication, and curated excursions.

What Endures features a collection of drawings from three bodies of work created over the past decade. These works highlight some of the most environmentally impacted and economically important places on earth, question what is sacred, and explore the artist’s practice of “bearing witness” to the world.

Using unique pigments such as radioactive charcoal, industrial waste, pulverized meteorites, and forest fire ash, Elder creates large-scale meticulous drawings that illuminate the contemporary landscape and call attention to the environmental impacts of industry, military, economy and policy. Elder’s drawings document the disconnect between the scientific and the sacred and function as memorials to displaced mountains, felled trees, and disrupted ecosystems.

Also included in the exhibition are seven drawings of meteorites that have been removed from Indigenous communities. Made through cultural consultation with Indigenous leaders, Elder’s drawings record the unscrupulous acquisition of these celestial rocks, and illuminate the void that remains when the extractive demands of science are prioritized over cultural values.

Elder’s newest body of work takes the form of large-scale lists. These lists are a part of her ongoing investigation into the act of bearing witness, and reflections on her personal experience of interdisciplinary research. Elder’s ‘incomplete lists’ explore Things That ProtectThings That Are SensitiveExponential Things,and Fleeting Things. Created by carefully incising text into paper the lists are then pigmented using materials such as pulverized guns, glacial silt, and stardust. Elder’s most recent list, An Incomplete List of Everything in New Mexico, is featured as a limited-edition poster available at SITE SANTA FE’s gift shop.

Artist Bios

Nina Elder