Standing Rock Events Depicted in Art Exhibition at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Eliza Moaranjo Morse hard at work. Photo courtesy of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Eliza Moaranjo Morse hard at work. Photo courtesy of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Published December 13, 2016

 SANTA FE – Eliza Naranjo Morse’s (Santa Clara Pueblo) exhibition Forward, has been on display at the  Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) for the better part of the year. She recently took brush in hand to update the mural with reflections on the events at Standing Rock.
She utilized drawings, clay, organic, and recycled materials as well as caricatures to create a connection between her Pueblo roots and her contemporary art practice. Highlighted in the exhibition is her mural, And We Will Live Off the Fat of the Land, a 38-foot-long procession of various beetles adorned in beautifully detailed Native attire, and include a beetle pushing a shopping cart full of various items. Naranjo Morse’s style and sense of line is both bold and fluid — and conveys both a sense of gracefulness and modern energy. Her imagination is spontaneous and spot on. Says Naranjo Morse, “perhaps we yearn to make our lives good and find balance, because even when we feel completely challenged there is the unrelenting proof in each of us that we are survivors, that we are the result of our ancestors’ histories and that eventually we will become ancestors.”
When asked why she would revise a piece of art that had been on display for so long, Naranjo Morse replied, “I added the signs from the water protectors at Standing Rock to share the good work happening there with as many people as possible.  Their work carefully clears a path for all of us seeking a way out of feeling incapacitated. It is no small trail.  It is an expansive and beautiful clearing that leads our individual strength back to our shared center and guides us collectively forward with intention.”
Video of her revisions can be found on the MoCNA Facebook page by clicking here.  Stop by the museum and check out the changes in person before the mural comes down at the end of December!
“Eliza’s work has really resonated with visitors, And We Will Live off the Fat of the Land is no exception.  At first glance, it is playful, colorful, and child-like;  but after close examination, one sees the seriousness of the content,” Patsy Phillips (Cherokee Nation), Director of the museum remarked.
“Initially when we commissioned Eliza to create this new work, the mural was scheduled to stay up for six months; however, visitors loved it so much we decided to keep it up for a full year. This extended period gave Eliza a chance to update this piece to reflect what is currently happening in the United States landscape. Standing Rock is an in-progress issue that is not just distressing the Sioux Nation, but is a concern that affects all peoples. Eliza’s work shows us that art, like water, sustains the body and spirit.”

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