I’m Paulita (Polly) Eliza Sanchez, and I was born in 1940 in Trujillo, NM. My parents are Abraham B. Sanchez and Ramoncita Gurulé Sanchez. I’m a life-long resident of Carrizozo, NM, and work as an educational assistant and art program coordinator at the Carrizozo Municipal Schools. Before this, I was a reporter/columnist/photographer for the Lincoln County News. I have a weekly history column called "Polly’s Potpourri" in The Ruidoso News. The column is about a variety of news bits, arts, crafts and helpful hints.
I am one of the few practicing "santera" in southern New Mexico. A "santera" is a woman who is a religious image maker (the male is called a "santero"). My interest in drawing and religious art made much more sense when I discovered that my ancestral roots traced back to the early 19th century Penitentes and their influence in Northern New Mexico. Due to a lack of priests in the rural areas of early New Mexico, these Penitente group of men were called on to take care of the religious needs of the community. My grandfather Juan Gurule, a farmer in Trujillo, NM (a small community near Las Vegas, NM) was a Penitente "rezador" (the person who led the congregation in prayers at religious services).
I’ve researched all aspects of the santo religious art form. My traditional religious folk art retablos have been on exhibition at the Lincoln Heritage Trust Museum in Lincoln, the Eagle Ranch Gallery and the Flickinger Center in Alamogordo, Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, the San Acacia Santero Show in Socorro, and the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, NM. I’m listed in the Lincoln County Arts directory and have been featured in Tradicion Revista, the journal of contemporary and traditional Spanish Colonial Art and Culture.
My husband Nat and I are parents of six grown children – Annette, Christetta, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Zachary, and we have 13 grandchildren.