ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you went on Google on Monday, you may have noticed a colorful image on the homepage. The doodle on the homepage is the work of a Zuni Pueblo artist and University of New Mexico alum, in honor of American Indian Heritage Month.
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A tool of today honored the legacy of the past. Monday’s Google Doodle was created by Zuni Pueblo artist, UNM alum, and UNM Artist-in-Residence at the UNM College of Pharmacy, Mallery Quetawki.
“I said ‘oh my goodness it’s Google.’ How am I going to do this, the pressure,” she said. “But at the same time, I’m always painting and doing artworks with all my traditional symbology and the different icons that I use in my art, it’s already there.”
The doodle is completely interactive, allowing people to use their mouse to try weaving. However, it also is meant to honor another Zuni artist, weaver, and potter, the late We:wa.
“The main story about We:wa that I really wanted to share was his generosity,” said Quetawki.
We:wa was born around 1849 and became a leader in Zuni culture. Quetawki said We:wa was a mediator and was able to guide the Zuni people both spiritually and socially. She said he was born a male and identified as both he or she.
“I would call him a caregiver. He was such a giving, loving individual, generosity,” said Quetawki. She hopes the doodle brings pride to Indigenous communities.
“We are the record keepers of our nations of our tribe…you see petroglyphs and the rock carvings, it has been done since our creation,” Quetawki said. “So this is more the modern way of how we’re keeping record and I just wanted to stress to my fellow artists out there that do come from Indigenous nations that you’re the record keeper. We are the ones carrying these stories helping the story go further.”
She also hopes it brings more of We:wa’s qualities to today’s world.
“Especially with the pandemic, a lot of people’s spirits were low, we’re losing people, people are still sick…just that reminder of our resilience as Native people. I’m hoping that resonates to other communities,” Quetawki said. “Now we’re putting We:wa on the stand so that people can actually read up on the legacy that she left and all the things that you know, he exemplified.”
Quetawki said one of the hardest parts of the project was the portrait of We:wa since there are fewer than 10 photos of him in existence. The A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center also helped with the collaboration to create the doodle. It was only up on Monday but can be seen in the archives when searching “Google Doodle”.