Diego Romero, American (Cochiti Pueblo), born 1964 

Pod Mound

  • 2010
  • Native clay and slip, kiln fired
  • Width: 15 in.

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Purchased through the Kira Fournier and Benjamin Schore Contemporary Sculpture Fund and the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund; 2010.54. ©Diego Romero

visibilityLook & Discuss

Although Pueblo pottery was made by women for centuries, today both male and female native artists of the Southwest make pottery. This pot was created by Cochiti Pueblo artist Diego Romero in 2010.

explore the object

Diego Romero likes to use dark humor to critique the foibles of the modern world. This pot is a commentary on the wastefulness of contemporary culture.

Romero shows us mysterious figures moving around a discarded pile of iPods. The abstract patterns around the rim and the unpainted squares in the iPods recall ancient pottery patterns and motifs, but the technology and the blocky, abstracted figures are drawn from the modern world.

The artist described the image in this way:

Waking from their long slumber, the little people have returned to find a post-human landscape littered with our clutter. They are hard at work recycling our mess into a mound of monolithic proportion.

Romero also said the following about his work:

I think that I have developed a narrative and a voice. I like these little cartoony, political comments on bowls, and I like the fact that I can comment on the history of the Pueblo people.
Through dance and art…[it] is my connection to my Indian self, something I’m constantly reexamining and redefining. I think it’s a situation that constantly needs to be reexamined, redefined. At what point do I consider myself an Indian? At what point do I consider myself this kid that grew up in a comic book store in Berkeley?           
I do think humor is medicine. When we look at art and laugh or chuckle, in a sense, we heal. It’s part of a healing process: being able to laugh at oneself or the absurdity of a situation is a way of healing. That’s where the healing begins. (Artist interview, 2010)

meet the artist

Image 41 diego romero.jpg

Diego Romero was born in California but often visited his relatives in New Mexico. He was fascinated by ruins and ancient pottery as a child. He learned how to work with clay at the Santa Fe Institute of American Arts and went on to study at the Otis-Parsons School of Design at UCLA. He draws his inspiration from many sources including historic Pueblo pottery, Greek sculpture, and Marvel comics. His works can be found in museum collections around the world.

Diego Romero’s brother, Mateo, is also a successful artist whose works Deer Dancer at Daybreak and Bloom (Kayla Gebeck) are featured on this website.

Southwest: Histories & Identities