El Alba Magazine - Page 4

A Master

of Tradition

Mónica Sosaya Halford

Mónica Sosaya Halford was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her family lived on Acequia Madre St. A street was named Sosaya Street in honor of her father, Agustín Sosaya. Her ancestors settled in Pojoaque in the 159os. Her parents, Agustín and Victoria had seven daughters and one son. Mónica was the youngest of her siblings. Her father worked as a carpenter, helping build barracks in Los Alamos where he lived during the week and came home only on weekends to visit them. They relocated to a smaller house that they rented in Santa Fe. She recalls her older sisters leaving home to live in Texas and California. She also remembers the death of her 19 year old sister, Mary, who died of double pneumonia. “We held the velorio at our home. Flowers were placed at our front door signifying the prayer ritual.” Mónica recounted her vivid memories of the her sister's wake.

Mónica went to school in El Rito where her brother, Agustine, Jr., had attended the prior year. “I attended school there, as our new home was a long walking distance to my school and there was no bus service in that direction. I attended there until the bus service from Santa Fe ended.” Her mother had wanted her to do clerical work, but she wanted to draw. She moved back to Santa Fe High School and took after school art classes with Jozef Bakos who taught at the school for 30 years. He is known as a member of los Cinco Pintores de Santa Fe. This was her first serious attempt at art.

“When I was young, I always wanted to paint. My mother discouraged me, however, due to her insistence that oil in the paint would affect my brain – because all artists are 'crazies'...my mother feared I was going that way.”