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Mayordomo (from the series El Agua es la Vida: A Village Life Portrait)

Mayordomo (from the series El Agua es la Vida: A Village Life Portrait)

Artist: Sharon Stewart (American, born 1955)
Date: 1993 (printed 2010)
Medium: gelatin silver print, toned
Dimensions:
Image: 12 × 12 in. (30.5 × 30.5 cm)
Support: 19 3/4 × 15 13/16 in. (50.2 × 40.2 cm)
Mat: 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.6 cm)
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds from Edward Osowski in honor of the artist, 2010
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 2010.32.1
Description
As a result of her work and the publication of Toxic Tour of Texas (1992), Stewart was invited to join the Water in the West collaborative, whose members document the history and politics of water use in the American West; her work is part of their archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Stewart lived in Houston for many years and was an active participant in the photography community there, eventually becoming the founding Vice President for the Houston Center for Photography. While visiting New Mexico, Stewart was invited to visit the northern village of El Cerrito for the annual limpia, the cleaning of the community acequia. Inspired by this ancient example of gravity-flow irrigation, passed and maintained from generation to generation, the artist began photographing the limpia and its participants in 1992 for a project she initially titled El Cerrito y La Acequia Madre (The Little Hill and the Mother Ditch). "Seeing the universal in the specific," she writes in her statement about the work, "this exploration of a small village's survival gives insights to sustainability through cooperation." In 1994, the artist moved to New Mexico, where she continues to live in Chacón in the Mora Valley in the northern part of the state. Oral histories conducted by the artist in conjunction with this project between 1993-2003 are in the collection of the University of New Mexico, Center for Southwest Research. Expanding her inquiry to the larger community of El Cerrito, Stewart eventually renamed the project Agua es vida: A Village Life Portrait.
Not on view
Publication and Exhibition History: 4/8/2011 - 8/31/2011 Exhibit: Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico