2019 Native Treasures: Diego And Mateo Romero

Deer Dancer (from the Deer Dancer series), Mateo Romero 2018. Collection of the artist. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Theatre of War, Diego Romero. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Emergence Angle, Diego Romero. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Diego Romero. Photo by Cara Romero
MIAC News:
SANTA FE The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) is pleased to announce Diego and Mateo Romero as the 2019 recipients of the Native Treasures Living Treasures award.  
This award honors Native American artists who have made outstanding artistic contributions to the field of indigenous arts and culture.
Mateo Romero. Photo by Cara Romero
“Twenty-five years have passed since Diego and Mateo Romero first debuted their work at MIAC with the groundbreaking Chongo Brothersexhibition,” Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), director of MIAC said. “While their individual careers continue to soar, we are honored to spotlight their talent, unique perspectives and distinct artistic styles with an exhibition of their current work scheduled to open this March.”
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, the brothers returned to their father’s ancestral home of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, as young adults. While each has charted his own significant direction in the Native arts field, they share a profound ability to capture those illogical, irreverent or even painful moments in life when cultures or beliefs collide with one another. Drawn in by the narrative graphics of Diego’s pottery vessels or the evocative surfaces of Mateo’s paintings, we may find ourselves laughing despite ourselves or feeling as though we are the ones on the inside of a spectacular joke or insight.
As Diego related in a recent interview, “To bring a dark narrative to the surface, you have to have a high level of craft to draw people in and a humorous twist so people can relate to it. Because in the end, humor is medicine. So, it is actually a way of addressing an issue and healing.”
The exhibit Diego and Mateo Romero: A Larger Vision is curated by Marla Redcorn-Miller, MIAC deputy director.  It pays tribute to the artistic achievements of Diego and Mateo Romero and their ability and success at articulating a cogent vision of Native American art practice that extends beyond the individual and looks to a collective future. Part of their artistic practice involves a function of healing, creating and building new processes and spaces for Native Americans to use and populate in order to regenerate our cultures.
As Mateo suggests, “I suppose if I have accomplished anything as an indigenous artist, the essence of that would be that I have contributed my voice in my work, which is driven by personal experience, not mediated by other authorities. This attention to voice or agency creates and builds conceptual spaces where other artists can imagine themselves having a voice, having a space.”  
Diego and Mateo Romero: A Larger Vision will remain on display in MIAC’s Diker Gallery March 31, 2019 through March 1, 2020.
Fallen Angel, Diego Romero. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Girl in the Anthropocene, Diego Romero. Courtesy/Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Route 66. Mateo Romero, 2002. Courtesy of the Poeh Museum, Pojoaque, New Mexico. Photo by Phil Karshis