Elements of the Earth: Potters from Ohkay Owingeh Past and Present


Location: Ortiz Gathering Space in Maxwell Museum

Start Date: Sep 26, 2008

The Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies program opened the Ortiz Center Gathering Space on Friday September 26th 2008 at the Maxwell Museum. This space is located in the north gallery of the museum and is dedicated to the memory of the late UNM Anthropology Professor, Alfonso Ortiz. Its inaugural exhibition, Elements of the Earth: Potters Past and Present of Ohkay Owingeh, features an exhibition of pottery, both historical and contemporary from Ohkay Owingeh. The exhibition is co-curated by Clarence Cruz of Ohkay Owingeh who is a Master Potter and UNM Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History, and Kathryn Klein, Curator of Ethnology for the Maxwell Museum and the Director of the Ortiz Center from 2003-2008.

As a UNM minor capital project funded by the New Mexico State Legislature the project took two years to complete. One of the highlights of the Ortiz Gathering Space is a touch screen presentation that features the goals and projects of the Ortiz Center; as well as objects from the collections at the Maxwell that relate to the exhibition; and a video about pottery making in Ohkay Owingeh that features potters from Ohkay Owingeh who speak about what pottery-making means to them and the importance of its revival and continuity to the community. It also features an introduction by Clarence Cruz and specific words related to pottery-making in the Tewa language.