Nora Naranjo-Morse (Tewa) b. 1953
"Khwee-seng" (Woman-man), c. 1994
Bronze, 48.5" x 58" x 1 1 "
The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Gift of The Dial Corporation
Nora Naranjo-Morse is a contemporary Tewa woman. She is a member of an extraordinary family of graceful, yet very strong women. Two of her sisters have their Phd, one in urban planning and the other in sociology. Another sister is a very well known as a contemporary potter who works with topical subjects. Her mother, the matriarch of this very well known Santa Clara pottery family has many pieces of her pottery in both public and private collections.
Naranjo-Morse also known as a poet and a film maker, has worked with clay since she was a child. As an artist, she has chosen not to work in a pottery motif. Instead, she is pushing the boundaries of her Pueblo clay with her figures and structures. She has only recently began to explore the possibilities of traditional sculpture media. It was with the encouragement and guidance of her brother Michael, a well known sculpture who works in bronze that she started to work with bronze.
"Khwee-seng," Tewa for woman-man, continues in the Pueblo figurative, effigy style but, in a new and contemporary manner. The two abstracted human forms are grouped together, not side by side, but rather with the female figure placed slightly in front of the male. This placement is a recognition of the role of women in traditional Santa Clara culture. A role that has been challenged in contemporary times with the reorganization of Santa Clara from the matrilineal traditional government to a patrilineal government modeled after the Euro-American governmental structure. Many Indian tribal governments underwent reorganization during the mid1940's when Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act. The impact of this law has forever altered the lives of Indian people.
Naranjo-Morse has been directly affected by this reorganization. Although she is an enrolled member of Santa Clara Pueblo. Her children cannot be enrolled because her husband, their father is not from there.
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