Roxanne Swentzell (born 1962, Taos, New Mexico) is a renowned Santa Clara Pueblo ceramic sculptor. Swentzell is known for her rounded figures of indigenous people, primarily women. Her mother, Rina Swentzell is a noted Native Americana artist, author and scholar.
Roxanne Swentzell loved art from an early age. As a child, Swentzell struggled with a speech impediment that prevented her from communicating. Unable to articulate her emotions through words she began to make miniature figures in clay to convey her feelings. The sculptures she created as a means to express herself to others continues to be her primary artistic medium to date.
While still in high school, Swentzell attended the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1979, the young artist left home for the Portland Museum Art School Art School because of its emphasis on the human figure. At the Portland Museum Art School she progressively grew unhappy. After one year in Portland, the homesick Swentzell returned to Santa Clara Pueblo. Back in her native soil she began to build her family and home while her creativity flourished.
Swentzell’s clay sculptures have moved and delighted audiences around the world. Her artistic endeavors have won Swentzell numerous awards since her early twenties.
Swentzell’s first display of her work was at the annual Indian Market in Santa Fe in 1984; two years later she won a total of eight awards for her sculpture and pottery at the same event. In 1994, Swentzell also won the Market’s Creative Excellence in Sculpture award. Swentzell’s work has a contemporary twist while still being grounded in her Native American history with reflects a deep respect for the earth, family, and tradition. Her sculptures have showcased at the White House in Washington, D.C. and in galleries and museums worldwide. Some of her permanent installations are at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Cartier in Paris, the Santa Fe Convention Center, and the Museum of Wellington in New Zealand.
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... Swentzell demonstrates her remarkable and versatile talent in her diverse collection of work ... Like in traditional Pueblo pottery, Swentzell crafts her clay figures from coils of clay ... Swentzell, however, differs from other Pueblo potters who dig, sift, clean, and process their own clay by choosing to use store bought clay ...