November Lobby Painting- Green Corn Ceremony

You can see the original of this painting, Green Corn Ceremony by Awa Tsireh at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Manhattan!

Green Corn Ceremony

In this painting, entitled Green Corn Festival, the figures are arranged in a circle formation.  The figures all look the same rather than realistic.  We can see authentic Pueblo People hairstyles and dress.

The two dominant elements of art are line and color.  Each figure is clearly outlined.  All figures are either profile or three-quarter face.  Mostly yellows, beiges, and blacks are used in this painting.  Rust, blues and greens imply vegetation.

The three main principles of design used by the artist are contrast, space, and composition.  There is a strong contrast between the painting’s yellows and blacks.  There is no perspective in this painting.  The figures are all the same size whether they are in the foreground or background.  The composition is circular.

About the Artist

Awa Tsireh was born in the 1890s in a San Ildefonso Pueblo community in New Mexico. In 1917, Tsireh worked as a laborer for an archeological dig near Los Alamos.  After hearing the archeologists’ praises for the Pueblo artifacts they were retrieving, Tsireh decided he could also paint.  He became the first modern Pueblo painter.  Not all Pueblo People were pleased with his paintings because he revealed sacred religious ceremonies.  Tsireh’s work received national attention.  He had exhibits in New York, Chicago, and Europe.

Question: Do you think this ceremony is a celebration?