Taboo I Series
15″h x 8.5″w
Traditional methods and materials: Cochiti red clay, white and red clay slip,
black (wild spinach) paint.
The Zuni “princess” We’wha (WAY-wah; b.1849), as the local media dubbed her, was an instant celebrity. She boldly stepped forward in the late 1800s as the embodiment of the two-spirit, an individual who combined male and female traits into a socially-recognized third gender role. As much as she mesmerized Eastern American society, she also characterized the strength of her role in her tribal community. Natives often considered two-spirit people to be among the strongest and most intelligent. Today’s transgender issues and controversy find inspiration in the life of We’wha, and also a voice in pop culture through musical icons like Boy George, Pete Burns, Ru Paul, Grace Jones and others who are shaping and pushing forward the agenda of the LGBT rights movement.