The Canelo Project will be overseeing the construction of 5 outdoor clay sculptures in Washington DC in front of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall. The project will be carried out in conjunction with Athena Steen’s aunt, Santa Clara Pueblo artist, Nora Naranjo-Morse from Espanola, New Mexico who won a design competition for outdoor sculptures that will be placed at one of the museum entrances. Naranjo-Morse's sculptures entitled, "Always Becoming," were selected unanimously by a selection committee, from more than 55 entries submitted by Native artists from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Nora Naranjo-Morse is a sculptor who works primarily in clay and bronze. Her work can be found in the collections of museums throughout the United States and has been featured in group and solo exhibitions at the White House, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. She is also known for her book Mud Woman Poems from the Clay.
Construction and installation will begin late May of 2007 and continue through the month of June with a public dedication scheduled for September 2007. The commissioned work will be located at the museum's south entrance on Maryland Avenue S.W. near 4th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.
Each of the five tower-like forms will stand anywhere from six to 15 feet tall and will be created out of organic, nontoxic materials clay soil, straw, sand, stone, wood poles, bamboo, reeds and plants. Pueblo pottery carving designs and low-fired shards will also be incorporated into the structures. The artist selected organic materials to enable the forms to take on a life of their own, which allow the natural elements to affect the forms through time. The forms are in essence, "Always Becoming."
"Native culture and the environment served as the inspiration for the sculpture design. 'Always Becoming' will reflect themes of growth and adaptation and represent indigenous peoples' unique relationship to the environment," said Naranjo-Morse. "The sculpture's metaphor of home and family not only conveys a universal theme to all peoples, but also enhances the visitors' experience that they have entered a Native place when they step foot on the museum grounds."