Mural Imagery and Narrative
The three female figures in this mosaic represent corn, beans, and squash. These crops have been food for people across Central and North America for thousands of years. In some languages, these plants are called the Three Sisters. A Three Sisters garden is based on interconnection. Corn provides a trellis for beans, which in turn provide nitrogen for the soil. The squash vines and leaves protect the ground beneath, holding moisture for the entire system and stabilizing the soil.
The middle figure is a portrait of Maria Martinez, the San Ildefonso Pueblo potter who is known worldwide for her iconic black-on-black pottery. The pot she holds is a traditional water vessel called an olla. To the right, a second sister holds an Apache basket containing various squashes grown in the southwest. She is dressed in a traditional Mesoamerican huipil embroidered with flowers. This figure honors the artworks of Diego Rivera and the Mexican Muralists. The third sister, on the left side, is inspired by the Art Nouveau movement from the end of the nineteenth century. The mosaic as a whole gives homage to the American mural tradition of the 1930’s, in which the Works Progress Administration enabled hundreds of artists to create scenes of American workers and American life.
Vanessa Alvarado & Karly Catron-Cardell
City of Albuquerque Public Art Program