Native American artists collaborate with local tech company

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a new way to learn about ancient art. A UNM professor helped design a new project that brings his, and other pueblos’ signature pottery designs to life.

“It’s always about educating, teaching the public to understand a certain art, the history the culture itself,” said UNM Professor Clarence Cruz.

Cruz, who is a member of the Tewa Pueblo, has been practicing pottery for decades. He uses the same techniques that have been passed down for generations.

“I get a lot of joy out of it,” said Cruz. He and artist Michelle Lowden of the Acoma Pueblo, collaborated with a local tech company to bring the ancient art into the 21st century.

“It’s a big ceramic piece but the imagery can wrap around it,” said Cruz.

The Pueblo Pottery Project was started by Corrales-based Ideum. The company is known across the country for making interactive exhibits, including part of the new Penguin Chill Exhibit at the Albuquerque Biopark.

“We wanted to do something that really spoke to the local community, to New Mexico,” said Becky Hansis O’Neill, with Ideum.

The interactive exhibit lets people design their own, traditional Olla Pot, while teaching them about the meaningful symbols they’re using.

“They each symbolize a prayer for rain in some way,” said Lowden.

The project started out as research. “It wasn’t for a specific museum or anything like that,” said Hansis O’Neill.

But now, it has been so well received, even winning several national awards, that they’re now looking for a permanent home for the exhibit. They’re also hoping to add even more pueblos’ designs and native artists’ works to the always-changing art.

“It’s good to move forward, but also remembering to hold on to what is true to your culture,” said Cruz.

Ideum is looking for a museum to permanently display the pottery project. They would like to see it stay in New Mexico. For more information, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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