San Antonio Public Art Unveils Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza’s “Najo Jām”

by Christopher Blay January 26, 2021

The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture and its Public Art Division has announced new public art projects. The first was Sebastian’s Door of Equality (La Puerta de Igualdad), which we covered in December. San Antonio artists Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza’s Najo Jām, a new public art installation at Comanche Lookout Park, is the second in as many months; The Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge also opened last month.

Najo Jām is a Coahuiltecan language phrase which means “Our Home.” The work is an homage to the multiple indigenous peoples and ancestors of the South Texas region, and  features the trabajo rustico style in its benches, planter, and monument to Peyotism.

Najo Jām by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

Najo Jām by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

“The use of trabajo rustico for this project is meaningful and intentional, as both the technique and symbols of indigenous culture represent deep and rich traditions,” says Cortés, a third generation trabajo rustico concrete artisan. “It is inspiring to use the skills passed down to me from my father, who learned from my great uncle, to honor and reflect on the ancestors and heritage of this land.”

Says Garza, a multimedia artist: “It is my hope that when park visitors see the installation, they gain an understanding that indigenous stories and memories existed here long before their hike. Nature is so integral to the indigenous way of life and I am excited for people to connect with the land by viewing and interacting with the artwork while standing in the center of an area so important to indigenous culture and heritage.”

Najo Jām at sunset, by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

Najo Jām at sunset, by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

At 1,340 feet, the 96-acre Comanche Lookout public park is the fourth-highest point in Bexar County and boasts multiple trails and views of San Antonio.

“San Antonio recently celebrated its Tricentennial, but there is more than 10,000 years of indigenous history and culture in this area, especially at Comanche Lookout Park,” says San Antonio District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry. “Not only does this artwork serve a functional purpose as a peaceful place to rest after climbing the trails, but it also provides a unique perspective on the people who thrived on and honored this land for many years.”

For more information about Najo Jām and the City of San Antonio’s  Department of Arts & Culture, please go here.

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