Native American Nacimientos

November 20, 2020 until January 07, 2021


This Special Exhibit Native American Nacimientos includes pottery and wood nativity sets made by artists from a variety of Native American Nations (Pueblo and Navajo), most of whom are now deceased. Highlights include a 17-figure Nacimiento by legendary Cochiti Pueblo potter Helen Cordero and another set made by Manuel Vigil, a Tesuque Pueblo artist who is widely recognized as the creator of the very first Native American pottery nativity or Nacimiento. The viewer will enjoy works in a wide variety of styles and mediums within this collection of Native American Nacimientos.

"Nacimiento" is the Spanish word for nativity scene or crèche. This art form has been popular in Europe since the fifteenth century. The first known Native American-made nativities appeared in the late 1950s. In 1961, the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico exhibited the extensive nativity scene collection of Alexander Girard, which included two sets. The exhibit increased interest in the art form, encouraging Native American artists to create their own works. By the 1970s, artists from a variety of Native Nations were creating and selling Nacimientos. Today, these unique sets are globally appreciated and enthusiastically collected.

This Special Exhibit continues through the holidays.