Nora Naranjo Morse


Nora Naranjo-Morse, a Tewa Pueblo Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, is a sculptor, writer and video producer of films that look at the continuing social changes within Pueblo culture. Her video What Was Taken... was screened in the 1997 Native American Film and Video Festival at the National Museum of the American Indian. In conjunction with this festival, her video, I've Been Bingo-ed by My Baby, was screened at the American Indian Community House. Nora incorporates the various media she works in to make social comment on the lives of contemporary Native women. She is best known for her work in clay. This medium holds special significance not only because of its place within the history of Santa Clara Pueblo art, but also because of the traditional processing it requires.  While her forms convey an aesthetic that is non-traditional, the content of her work is always rooted in issues that concern her community. Her work, in fact, often reflects on the tensions of producing art for a Western art market that often praises its innovative approach while, at the same, marginalizes it as “native” art. She lives in northern New Mexico with her family in an adobe house that she and her husband built.

The CONTINUUM: 12 Artists series at the National Museum of the American Indian will contain work by Nora. Nora was one of the artists invited to take part in the International Gathering of Indigenous Visual Artists of the Pacific Rim held at The Evergreen State College in June, 2001. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the magazine Aboriginal Voices. Nora was the 2000 Dubin Fellow at the School for American Research in Santa Fe. She has received a Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art in 2003. Nora was one of 6 artists selected to be included in the 7th Native American Fine Arts Invitational at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. The transcription of her reading in the first Poetics and Politics series at the University of Arizona is available online.

Nora's bronze sculpture, Khwee-seng (Woman-Man), was included in Exhibition VI of the series Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House. A photo gallery of Nora's work is available now online.

Nora is one of 8 contemporary artists chosen to participate in the Reservation X exhibitions at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Que., Canada. Her work is also represented in the Indian Humor exhibit on the NMAI website and in the Clay People exhibit at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe. She was also a moving force in the Clay Beings: Storytellers and the Reshaping of Ceramic Figures Native American Artist Convocation at the School of American Research.

A short biography from the Internet Public Library's Native American Author's Project is available.

Writing available online

Preface to Mud Woman
Childlike Enthusiasm
Gia's Song
The Living Exhibit Under the Museum's Portal
The Money Beasts
Mud Woman's First Encounter with the World of Money and Business
There Is Nothing Like An Idea
Tradition and Change
When Mud Woman Begins

Books by Nora Naranjo-Morse       icon

Mud Woman, Poems from the Clay (Sun Tracks Books, No 20)
University of Arizona Press. (Hardcover)
A First Clay Gathering (Multicultural Celebrations)
Modern Curriculum Press

Videos with/by Nora Naranjo-Morse

Inspirations (DVD), directed by Michael Apted
Interviews with 7 artists, including Nora, David Bowie, and Roy Lichtenstein
I've Been Bingo'ed by my Baby
Legacy of Generations: Pottery by American Indian Women, the WETA documentary
based on the Susan Peterson book (see above).
Separate Visions, Distributed by the University of California.

Anthologies and other Books containing Nora's Work       icon

Reinventing the Enemy's Language : Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America
(Edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird), W.W. Norton. (Hardback)
Home Places : Contemporary Native American Writing from Sun Tracks (Sun Tracks, Vol 31)
by Larry Evers (Editor), Ofelia Zepeda (Editor), Univ of Arizona Press.
A review of Home Places by Steve Brock
I've Always Meant to Tell You : Letters to Our Mothers:
An Anthology of Contemporary Women Writers by Constance Warlow (Editor), Pocket Books
Pierced by a Ray of Sun : Poems About the Times We Feel Alone
by Ruth Gordon, Harpercrest. (Hardcover)
The Great Southwest of the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railway,
by Marta Weigle (Editor), Barbara A. Babcock (Editor), University of Arizona Press and the Heard Museum.

Books Containing Interviews with Nora or Essays on Her Work       icon

Reservation X: The Power of Place in Aboriginal Contemporary Art, Gerald McMaster (Editor)
University of Washington Press.
Pottery by American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations, Susan Peterson, Abbeville Press.
Children of Clay : A Family of Pueblo Potters (We Are Still Here)
by Rina Swentzell, Bill Steen (Photographer), First Avenue Editions (Library Binding)
Review of this book by Paula Giese
"This Woman Can Cross Any Line": Feminist Tricksters in the Works of Nora Naranjo-Morse and Joy Harjo
Kristine Holmes, Studies in American Indian Literatures, 7, 45, 1995 Spring.
A Separate Vision, Case Studies of Four Contemporary Indian Artists,
by Linda B. Eaton, Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 58, Route 4, Box 720, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.
Interview (including Brenda Spencer & Baje Whitethorne) with Linda Eaton in Weber Studies
I Stand in the Center of the Good : Interviews With Contemporary Native American Artists
(America Indian Lives), by Lawrence Abbott (Editor)

Exhibit Information

Indian Humor

In Association with

This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the poet, Nora Naranjo Morse.

© 1997 - 2003 Nora Naranjo Morse and Karen Strom.

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