CRAFT IN AMERICA: IDENTITY Premieres on PBS on December 27, 2019 at 10pm (check local listings)
For Immediate Release
July 16, 2019
Contact: Beverly Feldman, [email protected]
[Los Angeles] – Announcing IDENTITY, a new episode of Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series discovering the beauty, significance and relevance of handmade objects and the artists who make them. For more than a decade, Craft in America has taken viewers on cultural journeys across this nation, honoring the multiplicity of traditions that have come to define our country. Craft in America: IDENTITY will premiere on PBS on Friday, December 27, 2019 at 10pm (check local listings).
How do we define ourselves, what combination of work, ethnicity, nationality, family and heritage, go into the sum of who we are? The artists in this hour challenge accepted norms of gender, race, education, culture, and place, offering truer expressions of their experience in this world.
Cara Romero, a contemporary photographer and member of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation (a branch of the Southern Paiute) of the Mojave Desert, CA is a passionate spokesperson for indigenous cultural and environmental issues. Her complex and nuanced images combine traditional iconography with a contemporary perspective, bringing past, present and future into consideration. The artist orchestrates a balancing act in her photography by rewriting stories of Indian identity, battling cultural misappropriation, and confronting stereotypes, particularly of Native women, all the while preserving tradition and maintaining cultural sensitivity.
Diego Romero is a potter living and working in Santa Fe, NM and a member of the Cochiti Pueblo tribe. He makes art that transcends his Native American heritage by combining traditional materials, techniques and forms of ancient Mimbres, Anasazi and Greek pottery with comic book inspired imagery, to talk about contemporary issues. Romero is a self-proclaimed “chronologist on the absurdity of human nature,” whose comic narratives often venture into taboo areas of politics, environment, racism, alcoholism, love, life, and loss. His trademark Chongo Brothers connect his work to Pop Art, inviting the viewer look at Native Indian pottery in a new way. He is married to photographer Cara Romero.
Cristina Córdova, sculptor, lives and works at Penland, NC, far from her homeland of Puerto Rico. Her beautiful figurative clay work is rooted in renaissance sculptural traditions and ceramics. Each piece represents our shared humanity while confronting contemporary issues of gender, race, beauty and power, and inviting the viewer’s participation.
Wendy Maruyama, furniture maker and educator, delves into matters of ethnicity, gender and world issues in her studio in San Diego, CA. Born an American of Japanese heritage, Maruyama satisfied her artistic passions by becoming an important furniture maker in a field dominated by men and in the process, overcame challenges related to her deafness and disability. Her recent series titled “WildLife Project” was inspired by the wrongful slaughter of African elephants and rhinoceroses.
CRAFT IN AMERICA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing original handcrafted work through the Peabody Award-winning documentary series on PBS nationwide and the free-to-the-public Craft in America Center in Los Angeles. With twenty-one episodes produced since 2007, CRAFT IN AMERICA takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Each episode contains stories from diverse regions and cultures, blending history with living practice and exploring issues of identity, ritual, philosophy and creative expression. Our websites craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica provide all episodes, hundreds of online videos and interactive learning materials, as well as object exhibitions, artist information, and the Random House book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects and other Craft in America publications.
The Craft in America Center is an exhibition and learning space in Los Angeles. We give voice to traditional and contemporary craft through artist talks, workshops, exhibits and concerts. Our reference library contains over one thousand books and videos and is free to the public. We invite you to stop in and to join us for upcoming events and exhibitions – 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
IDENTITY: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EPISODE exhibition on view at the Craft in America Center, March 28-May 2, 2020
To view the Artist Bios: www.craftinamerica.org/release/identity-artist-bios