Courtesy IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Eliza Naranjo Morse updates the 38-foot long mural “And We Will Live Off the Fat of the Land” that is highlighted in the exhibition “Forward” at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

Events at Standing Rock Are Cause for Reflection and Revisions at IAIA


Santa Clara Pueblo artist Eliza Naranjo Morse recently updated a piece of her work that has been on display at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts for nearly a year. The 38-foot long mural, called “And We Will Live Off the Fat of the Land” is highlighted in the exhibition “Forward,” in which she uses drawings, clay, organic and recycled materials, as well as caricatures to create a connection between her Pueblo roots and her contemporary art practice.

The mural shows a procession of beetles wearing beautifully detailed Native attire, and shows one beetle pushing a full shopping cart.

“Perhaps we yearn to make our lives good and find balance, because even when we feel completely challenged there is the unrelenting proof in each of us that we are survivors, that we are the result of our ancestors’ histories and that eventually we will become ancestors,” Naranjo Morse said in a press release.

She recently took a brush to the mural to add her reflections on recent events at Standing Rock. When asked why, she said: “I added the signs from the water protectors at Standing Rock to share the good work happening there with as many people as possible. Their work carefully clears a path for all of us seeking a way out of feeling incapacitated. It is no small trail. It is an expansive and beautiful clearing that leads our individual strength back to our shared center and guides us collectively forward with intention.”

Patsy Phillips, (Cherokee Nation) director of the museum, said that all of Naranjo Morse’s work has resonated with visitors, but especially the mural. “At first glance, it is playful, colorful, and child-like; but after close examination, one sees the seriousness of the content. Initially when we commissioned Eliza to create this new work, the mural was scheduled to stay up for six months; however, visitors loved it so much we decided to keep it up for a full year,” Phillips explained. “This extended period gave Eliza a chance to update this piece to reflect what is currently happening in the United States landscape. Standing Rock is an in-progress issue that is not just distressing the Sioux Nation, but is a concern that affects all peoples. Eliza’s work shows us that art, like water, sustains the body and spirit.”

Videos of the revisions in progress can be seen on the MoCNA Facebook page. Be sure to stop by the museum and see the mural in person before it comes down at the end of December.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



boujoie's picture
Submitted by boujoie on
The events unfolding at Standing Rock zoomed into my awareness around late July. A full-blown consciousness of NOW started opening up around late August, when more people ~ Native and non-Native ~ began swelling the Oceti Sakowin Mni Wiconi grounds. "Water is Life" became a mantra for many, and many more, and soon there were a whole lot of many more! The movement became more than just about stopping the pipeline; it was far greater than Grandmother's waters. In September, I began noticing a bigger picture unfolding. Seamlessly, people from all around our Mother Earth were adding their Wopila offerings for the Greater Good of All. The issues arising from NoDAPL in North Dakota and Iowa, began awakening environmental concerns in general. By this time, I had become deeply immersed into the unfolding events occurring on multi levels of consciousness. I joined my energies, prayers and heart consciousness each moment they were called forth by our Creator. I strongly believe that the events resulting from the multitudes that anchored that which began at Standing Rock, has become the foundation for an up-swelling by the First Peoples to reclaim their heritage, long held in place despite such insane odds. Many more have taken up the battle cry, "Mitakuye Oyasin". We ARE all related! We ARE related to every life form that exists here on Earth, and in every consciousness that is playing through above, below, and beyond. Unity awareness has been given a stronger foothold and a larger platform from which WE ALL can recognize what we can each offer on behalf of the 7th Generation and for the Greatest Good for All Concerned. Joie Bourisseau, Anishinaabe~Ojibwe, enrolled in the Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians. With Many Blessings of Gratitude to US ALL.