Pueblo Dance Mask

Deborah Jojola


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Artistic genes seem to flow through families. In the Jojola family, Tony is a word-famous glass artist, and sister Deborah is a painter, printmaker, teacher, curator, and clay artist!

Her mask of a Pueblo male dancer is serene and decorative, with a powerful presence.

Eyes closed, he seems to be praying. The symbols painted on his tablita (headdress), call a balance of sun and rain, to produce corn.

Corn is the staff of life, for Natives in the southwest. Corn is a metaphore for happiness, good health, and abundance.

There are suns at the top of the tablita, along with parallel lines that mean rain. At the sides, raindrops fall from puffy clouds.

Rounded forms, at either side of the face, symbolize corn ears, with more water lines below.

These wavy lines might also stand in for the growth of the cornstalks, thanks to enough water and sun.

These designs are painted with natural red clay slip and vegetal paint, for the dark grey. His face is a micaceous slip over the commercial clay base.

His hair, again painted with wild spinach paint, is carved into neat swirls, with one strand loose.

Tranquil, yet eloquent, this would be a beautiful – and meaningful – addition to your wall, along with pictures and paintings.


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