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Video transcript

[Music] we're in an office at the Newark Museum looking at a painting by foligno Shige Herrera also known as Mapei we from the Zia Pueblo it's such an interesting time to be looking at Native American art at the early 20th century because you have all of these influences coming together you have the interest from modernist artists on the East Coast you have a burgeoning tourist industry in the southwest and you have Pueblo artists who are painting from their indigenous traditions it's this moment in the teens where you have the intersection of all these various forces so tourism in the southwest has been happening for at least 20 years bringing the tourists gaze to the artwork you have the influence of government and schools where there is instruction in a euro-american sense that's imposed on Pablo children and most importantly you have the indigenous traditions in this case of painting and the pueblos are articulated along the Rio Grande and New Mexico the so called Rio Grande pueblos so the artists are really bringing an indigenous sensitivity and knowledge of painting in their background is painting on pottery painting on murals and Kiva's and of course even in more ancient times painting on rocks the first exhibit of Pueblo painters is in 1919 at the Museum of New Mexico valino Shige is one of that first Corps group along with Fred Capote and then also I would Sarah and they're the painters that formulate this genre of watercolor painting on paper which is European tradition of painting but connecting with their own traditions so what I'm seeing looks like a landscape with a sky with very stylized clouds a tree in the center birds in the sky a sense of movement to some of the birds the one who seems to be a raptor chasing another bird some of the birds appear more stylized more like symbols and then we seem to have a ground line with forms that look architectural and below that birds that seem to be floating in the water and a horned snake and flowers that grow out of the water valino is constructing a very modern and decorative landscape populated with all kinds of birds which are very important in pueblo world and cosmology birds have a lot of significance broadly speaking bird feathers are used for prayers and prayers thick's and specific bird feathers and specific birds has specific meanings in terms of their seasonality their territoriality or the migrating birds or the standing water birds like ducks or the Raptors so there's a whole constellation here that he's representing but what the genius is is that he's pulling from this pantheon of Pueblo pottery some more ancient and some very contemporary so there's a play here on the abstraction that is inherent in Pueblo design of bird forms of architectural forms of clouds he is taking that abstraction and creating a landscape for really a non-native viewer with that modernist sensibility with that or Deco aesthetic and the artists are in conversation with a modernist artists who have been discovering them from their perspective and promoting them this is a moment to when those modernist artists people like Marsden Hartley and John Sloan are also working to protect the rights of the play Bowman people Emilia Elizabeth White who owned this piece along with many other Pueblo paintings was very much involved in this Indian rights association that was working to let Outsiders like people in New York City know about what was going on in the southwest in terms of the expropriation of native land and other impinging on indigenous rights and modernist artists will he find points of aesthetic connection with these various Pueblo artistic expressions and they championed these artists valino she drew here is really being creative innovative in pushing this quad logographic tradition but he's also inspired by the consumers a modernist artist this art deco aesthetic and he's inserting his work within that but it's completely innovative so he's really pushing this graphic tradition into a new dimension you