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Making Babies for Indian Market

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
This sculpture is a contemporary version of the traditional storyteller figure with a humorous twist. It makes a dual statement on the production of traditional-style pottery for the Santa Fe Indian Market for sale to collectors as well as on the Pueblo potter's need to create something lasting for generations to come. A Pueblo woman sits with her legs and arms stretched out in front of her. Her feet are bare; her arms and hands rest on her legs below the knees. She wears a black, Pueblo-style dress with one shoulder bare and a white waistband decorated in red-ocher vertical dashes. The figure's face resembles the artist herself, Roxanne Swentzell. Her eyes look up toward the classic-style Santa Clara Pueblo black pot balanced on her head. Two babies emerge from the pot, one shown halfway out while the other has its head poking up. A third baby stands on the woman's shoulder and is reaching toward those emerging from the pot. A fourth baby sits on the woman's lap with an expression of deep contentment. The entire piece is a tour de force of workmanship, a hand-formed sculpture that merges two worlds, the time-honored and the modern.
CULTURE Santa Clara
MEDIUM Clay, pigment
DATES 2004
DIMENSIONS 23 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 17 in. (59.7 x 21.6 x 43.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 2004.80
CREDIT LINE Gift in memory of Helen Thomas Kennedy
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Roxanne Swentzell
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CAPTION 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. © Roxanne Swentzell
IMAGE 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.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (85%)
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