Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unpacking Mata Ortiz

Mata Ortiz Geometric Design Pot by Dora Quezada, circa late 20th century
It seems much longer, but it has actually been only 5 weeks since I made the decision to expand my advocacy of Native American pottery beyond the Southwest border of the USA to include the renowned ceramic arts of Mata Ortiz, Mexico. My visit to the Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico in April of this year turned the rusty key that reignited my personal passion for Mata Ortiz pottery, an interest which had been in hibernation for nearly twenty years. In the decade of the 1990's I took trips to Mata Ortiz to accumulate a collection of pottery works directly from the artists.  I've kept the large ollas and one effigy pot on exhibition shelves through four consecutive homes, but most of the pots remained safely boxed until 2 days ago when Sandy unpacked them to join our array of cultural artifacts on display.  The only signed Quezada piece I found was the small geometric-lizard motif olla pictured above by potter Dora Quezada, niece of Juan Quezada, the village local hero and man of legendary fame whose praises are now sung in ballads of tribute.