FEATURED IN IDENTITY EPISODE
IDENTITY: Artists explore issues of gender, race, culture and place, offering true expressions of their experience in this world. Featuring potter Diego Romero, photographer Cara Romero, furniture maker Wendy Maruyama, and sculptor Cristina Córdova.
Diego Romero is a potter living and working in Santa Fe, NM and a member of the Cochiti Pueblo tribe. Romero combines traditional materials, techniques and forms of ancient Mimbres, Anasazi and Greek pottery with comic book inspired imagery, to talk about contemporary issues. Romero is a self-proclaimed “chronologist on the absurdity of human nature,” whose comic narratives often venture into taboo areas of politics, environment, racism, alcoholism, love, life, and loss. His trademark Chongo Brothers connect his work to Pop Art, inviting the viewer look at Native Indian pottery in a new way.
Cara Romero, a contemporary photographer and member of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation (a branch of the Southern Paiute) of the Mojave Desert, CA is a passionate spokesperson for indigenous cultural and environmental issues. Her complex and nuanced images combine traditional iconography with a contemporary perspective, bringing past, present and future into consideration. The artist orchestrates a balancing act in her photography by rewriting stories of Indian identity, battling cultural misappropriation, and confronting stereotypes, particularly of Native women, all the while preserving tradition and maintaining cultural sensitivity.
Wendy Maruyama, furniture maker and educator, delves into matters of ethnicity, gender and world issues in her studio in San Diego, CA. Born an American of Japanese heritage, Maruyama satisfied her artistic passions by becoming an important furniture maker in a field dominated by men and in the process, overcame challenges related to her deafness and disability.
Cristina Córdova lives and works in Penland, NC. She completed her BA at the University of Puerto Rico in 1998 then received her MFA in ceramics from Alfred University, NY in 2002. She has since received numerous grants and awards, including the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Grant, a Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant, several International Association of Art Critics of Puerto Rico awards, and in 2015 the prestigious United States Artist Fellowship award.