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Native American artists honored for contributions

bright spotThe Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe has named brothers Diego and Mateo Romero the 2019 recipients of the Living Treasures award as part of the Native Treasures program.

The award is designed to spotlight Native American artists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of indigenous arts and culture, organizers said in a news release.

Diego Romero

“Twenty-five years have passed since Diego and Mateo Romero first debuted their work at MIAC with the groundbreaking Chongo Brothers exhibition,” said Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), director of MIAC, in a statement.

“While their individual careers continue to soar, we are honored to spotlight their talent, unique perspectives and distinct artistic styles with an exhibition of their current work scheduled to open this March,” she said.

Mateo Romero

The brothers were born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., eventually returning to their father’s ancestral home of Cochiti Pueblo. Each has charted his own direction in the Native arts field, with Diego’s pottery vessels and Mateo’s paintings, organizers said.

“To bring a dark narrative to the surface, you have to have a high level of craft to draw people in and a humorous twist so people can relate to it. Because in the end, humor is medicine. So, it is actually a way of addressing an issue and healing,” Diego said in a recent interview.

On display through March 1, 2020, the museum’s current exhibit in the Diker Gallery, “Diego and Mateo Romero: A Larger Vision,” is curated by Marla Redcorn-Miller, MIAC deputy director. The museum is at 710 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe.

“I suppose if I have accomplished anything as an indigenous artist, the essence of that would be that I have contributed my voice in my work, which is driven by personal experience, not mediated by other authorities,” Mateo said.

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