Meet the Aunties
Nora Naranjo Morse
Nora Naranjo Morse ((Kha’p’o Owenge/Santa Clara Pueblo)
most recent body of work is made from recycled materials. Working with wire, plastic and other discarded materials Naranjo Morse is forging a new direction in her work. Although known for her ceramics, these new forms express Naranjo Morse's distinctive aesthetics and continued approach to her artistic growth.
Naranjo Morse works in several mediums including organic materials. The ephemeral installation, "Always Becoming" made of clays, packed earth, wood and stone can be seen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. A feature length documentary focuses on the making of the five "Always Becoming" sculptures and the themes of land and community behind the installation concept.
Naranjo Morse's work has exhibited nationally at numerous museums and internationally. Nora continues to explore issues of environment, culture and the social practice of making art with community.
Deborah Jackson Taffa is the director of the MFA CW at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Winner of the PEN Jean Stein grant, her memoir WHISKEY TENDER is due to be released by Harper Collins on February 27, 2024. With fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Rona Jaffe, Tin House, A Public Space, and the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute, she earned her MFA in Iowa City. Her writing can be found in Salon, The Best of Brevity, the Boston Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Best American series, and other places. She is a citizen of the Quechan (Yuma) Nation and Laguna Pueblo.
Laura Tohe is Diné and Laguna and is the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She is Sleepy Rock people clan born for the Bitter Water people clan and is the daughter of a Navajo Code Talker. A librettist and an award-winning poet, she has written three books of poetry, edited an anthology of Native Women writers, and wrote an oral history book on the Navajo Code Talkers. Her commissioned librettos-- Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, world premiered for the Phoenix Symphony and Nahasdzaan in the Glittering World was performed in France in 2019 and 2021. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poetry Fellowship; 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award; and the Arizona Book Association's Glyph Award for Best Poetry. Her work is published widely nationally and internationally. Many of her poems have been translated into music for piano, guitar, and trumpet. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from Arizona State University.