Artist Gerónima Cruz Montoya (P´otsúnú) Walks On at 99

Gerónima Cruz Montoya was the poster artist for the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Art Market

Gerónima Cruz Montoya was the poster artist for the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Art Market

ALBUQUERQUE — Gerónima Cruz Montoya (P´otsúnú), an accomplished artist from Ohkay Owingeh, formerly San Juan, Pueblo died on Friday, January 2, 2015 at an Albuquerque hospital. Montoya was 99.

Gerónima Cruz Montoya (1915 - 2015)

Gerónima Cruz Montoya (1915 – 2015)

In a news release, her son, Robert Montoya, said his mother had been hospitalized after a fall at her home last month. She had been recovering from surgery for a broken hip and wrist.

“She was surrounded by family and friends,” Robert Montoya commented. “We knew this day would come. We are happy to have had her in our lives for so long, but we know she is in a better place now.”

In 2010 Montoya was selected as  the poster artist for the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market. That same year, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts also honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a young girl, she was educated at the Santa Fe Indian School, where she became a painter. She graduated from the Santa Fe Indian School in 1935 as class valedictorian.

She came back to the Santa Fe Indian School to teach art from 1937 to 1961. Montoya is credited with inspiring many contemporary American Indian artists, such as Narciso Abeyta, Harrison Begay, Ben Quintana and Joe Herrera.

After leaving the Santa Fe Indian School, Montoya headed the art program at the former St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe.

Montoya was a recipient of the first National Museum of the American Indian Art and Cultural Achievement award in 1994. She has served on the board of the Southwest Association of Indian Arts (SWAIA), and has participated in the Santa Fe Indian Market since 1962.

A biography of her remarkable life, “The Worlds of P’otsúnú: Gerónima Cruz Montoya of San Juan Pueblo,” was published in 1996.

 

 

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