Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

A Sense of Community

Nora Naranjo Morse connected her art to the idea of an always changing community. Her presentation on “The Land of the Pueblo People” Thursday night focused on her sculpture featured outside of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, called Always Becoming.
Morse was born and raised in the northern New Mexican Pueblo community. Her artwork is inspired by the influence of her land and culture. In Pueblo culture, every place has a purpose and everything has use. Places can be sacred and blessed, according to Morse. Her sculpture was blessed by people every day as it was built.
Always Becoming is a sculpture with feminine and masculine characteristics. Morse used the indigenous earth to build her artwork. The piece is made of dirt, straw, rocks, and wood. People from all walks of life took part in, what Morse calls, the undefinable process of creating the always transforming piece of art.
“We’re all becoming as people, as humanity” said Morse
Morse focuses on the celebration community and people working together towards one common goal. According to Morse, her sculpture has changed from its original form. Since its original installation, Morse has added to Always Becoming. It will continue to be transformed by the weather, according to Morse. While her sculpture will continue to be transformed by the environment, Morse believes she was transformed by her time in D.C.
“The presentation really highlighted that we are all human beings that can bond over creating things and having common experiences. Her project was paying homage to her history and culture, while also recognizing the fluidity of it over time and how it is impacted by others” said Ashley Chex, a sophomore in attendance.
According to Morse, the clays she used in her sculpture came from different indigenous people from everywhere. During the process people would stop and sing to her and her crew.
“The voices came from everywhere” said Morse.
The sculpture created a feeling of inclusiveness. According to Morse, the art is not just an idea of the Pueblo people, it is an idea of all indigenous people, and of all people.
Sarah McDowell, assistant professor of English, said that in a time that the idea of community is being challenged on campus, the presentation made her think about the mission of the college. According to McDowell, the mission focuses a lot on the individual and in her opinion perhaps we don’t focus on the communal element enough.
“We all have a common purpose and a common understanding that we are part of the same community” said McDowell reflecting on the presentation.

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A Sense of Community