This is a very rare example of Maria Laweka’s work. Maria is a daughter of Damacia Cordero and was born around 1930. This piece is good sized, 7″ tall by 6 1/4″ deep. It is another fine and unusual example from the collection of Rutt Bridges.
Much of what I love about earlier Cochiti storytellers and singing mothers are apparent in this piece by Maria Laweka. It dates to perhaps the 1950’s to early ’60’s. The mother, holding one baby in each arm, leans back and joyously sings to her children. The mother and children are simply drawn; 2 dots for the nostrils, a thick curve of black paint for a mouth, the babies very primitively drawn. The mother’s richly black dress is decorated with pottery symbols. This piece is simply delightful.
My guess is that Maria Laweka produced few singing mother figures. The only examples of Maria’s work that I have found recently, even searching the market today, have been small, very primitive animal effigies, similar to the ones that her mother Damacia made. It has been a long time since I’ve seen one of her singing mothers. This one possibly pre-dates Helen Cordero’s first storyteller in 1964.
Condition is very good with a few minor rubs from handling.
Provenance: The Collection of Rutt Bridges