Jones, Romero featured in the Met’s Water Memories

Cara Romero, Water Memory, 2015

Artists Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) and Tom Jones (Ho-Chunk) are featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Water Memories, an exhibition Holland Cotter calls “a poetically faceted pocket-size show about the material and symbolic role of water in Native American life.” Organized by Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha), associate curator of Native American Art, the show examines the significance of water to Indigenous people as well as the struggle to control use of water and land.

Romero’s Water Memory is a large-scale photograph showing Pueblo corn dancers performing underwater, writes Cotter, “as if immersed in a mystical realm where beauty and danger, soaring and falling, are inseparable.” The work, Romero has said, was sparked by flooding of vast swaths of Chemehuevi land in Southern California thanks to the construction of the Parker Dam on the Colorado River in the 1930s.

Tom Jones, from the Trail Marker Trees series, 1999

Jones’s contribution “honors an instrument of guidance”: his 1999 black-and-white photo depicts a “trail marker tree,” a tree shaped by humans as a wayfinder indicating areas of interest ahead (water sources, settlements, sacred sites).

Water Memories is on view through April 2, 2023.