Maria and Julian Martinez and Vincent Valdez painting Discussion

A:In the year 2000, artist Vincent Valdez painted “Kill the Pachuco Bastard!” dramatizing some of the events of the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943.What do you see happening in the details in this painting? What clues can you see that give evidence for the historical context of the Zoot Suit Riots? Why did these riots take place? How might we compare the events surrounding the Zoot Suit Riots with recent examples of racism, riots, and activism taking place across the United States? You can consider other current events reflecting racial tension and/or struggles for social justice.B: Maria and Julian Martinez invented their unique style of black-on-black high polish pottery in 1918. It quickly became popular with collectors, and after 1920, white patrons suggested that Maria sign her pots. Sales were increasing, and to many buyers, a signature would increase the value of the pot. To Pueblo potters, signatures were not important, as those in the community knew how to recognize the style of individual potters. In the 1920s and 30s, Maria signed pots made and painted by others or pottery she had created in collaboration with other people. To the Western art world, this might seem to be misrepresentation. In the Pueblo worldview, where community balance and harmony are valued over the success of the individual, this was a way that other artists in the community could share in the wealth from Maria’s fame.Discuss these questions: Do you think Maria’s signature on Pueblo pottery was a misrepresentation?Why do you think she signed pots made by others?Can anyone find photos of Maria, her community, and/or examples of her art?

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