Teacher of pottery and life, educator, and artist, Angelina Medina has come a long way from the little girl who spoke only her native Keres language.
Her PhD. thesis for Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies was written as a memoir, and passed “With Distinction”, by the University of New Mexico.
Her careers have been devoted to preserving Pueblo culture, and empowering young Natives to appreciate their roots, through education, example, and counseling.
She has been equally successful in imparting her deep appreciation for that culture through her art, to Natives and non-Natives, alike.
This immensely compelling and beautiful Nativity scene places the Holy Family in the shelter of an adobe ruin, dressed as a Pueblo couple, with baby.
The abstract figures are nonetheless naturalistic: Joseph stands tall and alert, protective of his little family.
Mary leans protectively over the Baby, facing toward Joseph, as if grateful for his strength, too.
Covered in a blanket of pure white Acoma clay, the Child sleeps peacefully in his footed cradle.
The robes of Mary and Joseph are beautifully decorated in traditional designs, in natural clay slips and black, vegetal paint.
Only the blue band across Joseph’s forehead is not a natural color.
The curved wall that shelters them is left with rough edges, as if the adobe is deteriorated.
It is pierced with a cross and any stars. The artist suggest a candle be placed behind the wall, so the light flickers through.
The back of the wall is etched into a pattern suggestive of adobe bricks.
This unusually appealing Nativity is amazingly tender, sweetly spiritual, and remarkable in every way – in conception, realization, emotion, and design.
It truly blends two traditions, in a very beautiful way.