From the Artist - Mallery Quetawki:

Cactus and yucca plants dot the high desert landscape of the Southwest and just like the sharp spines that grow on the pads of the prickly pear, the Zuni People have protected and thrived on the land that we have lived on since our migration led us to settle in the Middle Place (Zuni Pueblo).  This migration from the Ribbon Falls of the Grand Canyon is symbolized by the turquoise line that surrounds the room and ends at the spiral.  The diamond landscape with the golden stars portrays our sacred landmark in Zuni, Dowa Yalanne Mountain.  The use of gold represents the once-mistaken lore of Zuni being the Seven Cities of Gold (Cibola) that treasure-hungry conquistadors thirsted for in the 1540s.  Our gold is this very desert.  Although beautiful, the land inflicts a touch of danger with its unforgiving extremes on both ends of the weather spectrums. From triple-digit summers to below-zero winters, we have remained and we have survived with much of our ceremonies that keep that balance of life.  We acknowledge every creature and all parts of the land from the sky to the ground and everything in between as part of this life cycle that we hope to continue to sustain.  We are all connected through DNA and other forms of kinship beyond blood.  We honor the harvest that nourishes us through prayer and ceremony, and we dance for the many forms of moisture to bless our fields, signified by the stair designs and water droplets carrying the cactus blossoms.  The cactus blossoms flowing along metallic tufts signify our most precious resource, our children, who will continue the dance and the language that make us who we are, the A:shiwi.

About Mallery Quetawki:

Mallery Quetawki is from the Pueblo of Zuni in western New Mexico.  She is currently the Artist-in-Residence with the Community Environmental Health Program at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy in Albuquerque, NM.  Mallery has used art to translate scientific ideas, health impacts, and research on uranium mines that are currently undergoing study in several Indigenous communities.  Currently, her work titled, “Our Cultures, Our Languages” is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City in the Grounded in Clay exhibit in the American Wing through June 2024.  Mallery has a large-scale mural titled, “Morning Prayer”, on permanent display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and several other murals in Zuni.  In November of 2021, Mallery’s art was showcased as an interactive Google Doodle that kicked off Native American Heritage Month.