Making Babies for Indian Market
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Roxanne Swentzell’s work often plays on the interaction between native and non-native worlds. Here she uses clay, an ancient artistic medium, to depict a traditional Pueblo woman, whose face is much like Swentzell’s own. The woman in the sculpture looks up at the Santa Clara black pot balanced on her head, from which babies are emerging. But there is a contemporary ironic twist to what the woman is doing: is she “birthing” pots to be sold at an Indian market, or is it the baby Indians themselves that the consumer will want to buy? The work challenges the viewer to acknowledge the treatment of Native Americans as a stereotype and commodity in representations by non-natives in popular culture and advertising.
23 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 17 in. (59.7 x 21.6 x 43.2 cm) (show scale)
Gift in memory of Helen Thomas Kennedy
© Roxanne Swentzell
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Roxanne Swentzell (Kah'p'oo Owinge (Santa Clara Pueblo), Native American, born 1962). Making Babies for Indian Market, 2004. Clay, pigment, 23 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 17 in. (59.7 x 21.6 x 43.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift in memory of Helen Thomas Kennedy, 2004.80. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004.80_SL3.jpg)
overall, 2004.80_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
The sculpture is a contemporary version of the traditional storyteller figure with an ironic twist. It makes a dual statement on the production of traditional-style pottery for the Santa Fe Indian Market, for sale as well as on the Pueblo potter's desire to create something lasting for generations to come. A Pueblo woman sits with her legs and arms outstretched in front of her. The figure's face resembles Roxanne Swentzell, the artist responsible for the sculpture. Her eyes look up towards the Santa Clara black pot balanced on her head. Two babies emerge from the pot. One is shown half way out, the other with its head poking up. A third baby stands on the woman's shoulder and is reaching towards one of the babies coming from the pot. A fourth baby sits on the Pueblo woman's lap with an expression of deep contentment. Making babies and making pots are equated, perhaps to protest how indigenous people themselves and their traditions are often considered as if commodities, to be purchased by non-Native people at commercial Indian Markets throughout the Southwest. The entire piece is a tour-de-force of workmanship, a hand formed sculpture that merges two worlds, the time-honored and the modern.
The entire surface of the work is highly polished and is in excellent condition.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.