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Visiting scholar to discuss significance, purpose of public monuments

Monday, January 30, 2017

LAWRENCE — A multimedia artist trained in Pueblo traditions will visit the University of Kansas for a public lecture.

Nora Naranjo Morse will deliver the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar lecture at 5:30 pm Feb. 9 in the Spencer Museum of Art auditorium. Naranjo Morse is a sculptor, writer and producer of films that look at the continuing social changes within Pueblo Indian culture. Her talk, “Numbe Whageh,” will focus on a controversial land art project that responds to the historical treatment of Pueblo people by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate during the late 1500s. Narnanjo Morse will address the question of monuments, who makes them and why. The lecture is free and open to the public.

An artist best known for her work with clay and organic materials, Naranjo Morse has been trained in the Pueblo clay work tradition of the Southwest. Her installation exhibitions and large-scale public art speak to environmental, cultural and social practice issues. Beyond New Mexico, her work can be seen at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C. 

She studied at the College of Santa Fe, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1980, and she is the recipient of an honorary degree from Skidmore College. In 2014 Naranjo Morse was awarded a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist fellowship. She is the author of two books: a poetry collection, “Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay,” and a children's book, “Kaa Povi.”

Naranjo Morse will spend two days on the KU campus. Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates nationwide the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students. KU’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter (Kansas Alpha), sponsor of the event, is the oldest chapter west of the Mississippi. Visit the University Honors Program website for more details.

Co-sponsors of the program are the Office of Diversity & Equity; the Office of First-Year Experience; the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures; the University Honors Program; the Department of English; the Indigenous Studies Program; and the Spencer Museum of Art.

Additional support comes from the First Nations Student Association, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Lawrence Public Library.