October 11, 2007

Native artists look at knees

Tewa artist opens Native Writers SeriesNaranjo-Morse read from her book, "Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay." Her poem, "The Living Exhibit under the Museum's Portal," tells of the experience of selling recognizably Indian art to tourists in Santa Fe, N.M., who want to purchase mementos from the "curiously silent Indians, just like in the postcards."

"When I wrote of the experience of selling to people, I started to realize that I was really what was on display," Naranjo-Morse explained. She would sell items from a blanket on the ground, which gave her "the perspective of people's knees. Even that perspective changed how I saw things. People never bent down; there was always that separation. And when people were talking to us, they were talking louder.

"It was apparent that there was a certain relationship, and in order to sell, I had to follow unspoken rules," Naranjo-Morse said. She spoke of how she became resentful of that relationship and eventually decided that if she were to break those rules, she would need to find a way to support herself.

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