Burnishing History: The Legacies of Maria Martinez and Nesta Nala in Dialogue: Part I: An Historian’s Perspective

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth A. Perrill, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: This article is in two parts. “Part II: An Artists’ Conversation” immediately follows this article. As a complimentary historical overview, this text seeks to contextualize the Martinez and Nala families’ early entrées into high-end, nonindigenous markets. As such, the 1910s–1920s and 1980s–1990s are extensively discussed in the context of the Puebloan and Zulu regions, respectively. Although the rise of Martinez and Nala as doyens of art-pottery took place in these two locations nearly three-quarters of a century apart, the rhetorical devices of death, purity, and archeological inspiration used are strikingly similar. A full picture of the intercultural negotiations, both interpersonally and aesthetically, in which Martinez and Nala took part is impossible to portray in one article. Rather, the author traces the parallels between portrayals of these famous women and the comparative views of the Martinez and Nala lineages that have led to multiple references to Nala as “the Maria Martinez of South Africa.” The meanings of this comparison and the infrastructures of support surrounding each family are juxtaposed, and the challenges facing South African potters seeking to replicate the successes of the American Southwest are highlighted.

Additional Information

The Journal of Modern Craft, 8:3, 263-286, DOI: 10.1080/17496772.2015.1099241
Language: English
Date: 2015
Ceramics, pottery, Pueblo, South Africa, contemporary art, Zulu, San Ildefonso, Tewa

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