Allison, Marla – “Water and Seed Carriers” Original Acrylic Triptych on Canvas
Marla Allison is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. This triptych is entitled, “Water and Seed Carriers”. It is a series of three paintings acrylic on canvas. The imagery has two young girls in the first panel. They are carrying water jars. The second panel has two adult women carrying water jar on their heads. The last panel has an older matriarch carrying a water jar on her head and holding a jar. Marla said the series of paintings were meant to represent the importance of women in Pueblo culture. The water jars are a metaphor for them carrying both the culture and future generations. It is an elegant set of paintings and they are also painted onto the sides (I took photos of them at an angle as well). The colors are subtle white, tans, and copper. All of Marla’s paintings have a “gallery wrap” so the painting continues onto the side so that framing is not necessary.
Marla says of her painting:
“I am from Laguna Pueblo so I paint Laguna Pueblo. I paint and create for Laguna history to be great and remembered. I paint because I was passed down a gift from my grandfathers; I paint to continue what they started. I began with simple works of loose brush strokes, slight symbols of pottery design, and shapes taught to me in my youth. I researched the artists that I found powerful and connected what they did with what I do. From study and admiration, I found that I had something all my own. Most of my influence is from pottery design of Laguna Pueblo and Hopi Pueblo. I have also found much influence by the cubism of Pablo Picasso and squares of Paul Klee. I don’t stick with one certain style but it is all my own, that’s what makes it mine. With the use of pottery design, I have painted landscapes that have design on them symbolizing where the clay that holds these designs comes from. I have painted mosaic paintings that are broken up squares and by taking these paintings apart with the image, the viewer is forced to visually put them back together as a way of putting themselves and their past into it in the process. I paint so I remember where I came from. I paint so others can remember where I come from. I paint to be remembered.”
Allison began her expression through art in her youth and gained formal education at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM where she obtained an Associates Degree in three-dimensional art. Since graduating from IAIA, Marla has exhibited artwork at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, the Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Smithsonian Native Art Market in New York. Permanent collections with Marla’s work are found in, The Heard Museum Permanent Collection (Phoenix, AZ), The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Santa Fe, NM), The Red Cloud Indian School Collections (Pine Ridge, SD) and various private collections around the country and also Rome, Italy. She was also the 2010 recipient of the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM.