Geronima Montoya (1915-2015)
Pueblo Rain Elements, 1994, Casein, Tempera, and Sponge. Edition: Unique. Signed and dated in pencil, P'otsunu 94, lower right; titled on the back.
Dimensions of paper: 15 x 22 inches (381 x 558 mm).
Reference: Shutes and Mellick 1996.
Inventory ID: 1023
Very good condition. Painted nearly full sheet on heavy Strathmore paper. Geronima Cruz Montoya, or Potsunu (actually: P'otsúnú - meaning "pink shell" - her Native American name) was a member of Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), New Mexico. Geronima spent most of her life balancing two different worlds, one Pueblo and one not. Throughout she continued to utilize art as one of her languages. Truly using art as if it were the thread that held the world together.
Quoting her in Shutes and Mellick (1996:223):
The traditional women continue to learn, working on crafts, pottery, weaving, and some are very involved in art, in volunteer work, and still keep families together. Many traditional women share knowledge in the non-Indian world as well as in their communities. The traditional women help preserve our Indian culture, our traditional language, songs, prayers, and the language. If lost, we have nothing.