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Inspired by Lara's family history, this project tells the centuries-long story of enslaved Native American children. Lara’s studies of this little-told history lead to the conception of the Flying Blue Buffalo, a new symbol of indigenous survIval and resistence. 77 buffalo were cast in resin and hand-finished under his supervision.

“Buffalo are masters of survival,” says Lara. “They’re still around today, even though we tried our best to kill them all off.” Lara has depicted buffalo in his drawings, paintings and sculptures for decades. In recent years, they’ve turned blue and sprouted wings. They reference a darker chapter of his family history: his grandmother, who was Navajo, was kidnapped as a child and forced into servitude by a Mexican Family. This was a common story in the region now known as the Western United States. Across three centuries of Spanish, Mexican, and American rule, thousands to millions of Native children were enslaved as household servants or fieldhands.

The Pueblo people called these abducted youths “lost blue birds,” a symbol that Lara combined with the buffalo into a new icon of indigenous survival.

A number of Lara's close friends revealed the same story told by their ancestors. He dreamed up an art installation and storytelling project that communicate his grandmother's resilient ethos, and inspire people to learn more about their heritage. A series of five winged blue buffalo marionettes that Lara carved from wood over the years became central conceptual elements. With the help of his frequent collaborator Joseph Riggs, an artist and retired attorney, Lara pitched the idea to form and concept. The gallery commissioned a digital model and several mockupsof the buffalo from Alburquerque-based 3D Proven Systems, while Lara and Riggs started gathering stories for the project.

Each of the 77 buffalo sculptures represent the story of one "Lost Blurbird,” with oral and written accounts of their flight for survival.