Leah Mata

" Saqwamu...A Place Where Things are Made"

Traditional and Contemporary California Indian Jewelry and Textiles.

 

In my language ( yak tityu tityu- Northen Chumash) there is no word for “artist.” The closest reference is a “maker.” Using the word “maker” (saqwa) and adding the suffix “mu" (a locative) creates Saqwamu, which literally translate to  “place where things are made.”

My mission is not just to create things, but to create beautiful things, while also preserving my tribal traditions and bringing awareness about environment issues. My tribe’s home land is along the central California coast. Where I am continually reminded that there may be a time when I am not able to pass down these art forms because our cultural resources are limited, and often there are barriers to access. I am eager to start applying my academic training to draft cultural polices that will address my tribe’s concerns on a local level and protect our cultural resources.

I am very fortunate to have an amazing husband, studio, family, community, tribal members, and friends who encourage me and help me gather the materials for my work. Without this support, I would not be able to make my creations, and I am forever thankful for their devotion.

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