Kotowski’s “Sacred Trust: BROKEN” at Ink & Clay 45 Exhibit at Cal Poly Pomona

Taos ceramic artist Serit Kotowski’s beautiful Sacred Trust:  BROKEN is an educational installation that focuses on the impact of the nuclear weapons industry in New Mexico.  Using a traditional potter’s repertoire Kotowski created two sets of dinnerware to demonstrate that, if ingested, radioactive substances are harmful, if not deadly. The plates and cups are labeled “NOT FOOD SAFE.”  http://inkclay45.com/statements-a-m.html , scroll down to “Kotowski.”

One set of plates and cups is glazed in hues of yellow to represent a form of milled uranium, called yellow cake, which was mined on Native Peoples’ lands.  The other set of dinnerware is glazed in hues of iron greens to represent the creation of trinitite during the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945.

Kotowski further demonstrates the harm done to frontline communities by modifying the “Water, Air, and Land:  A SACRED TRUST” map, created by Deborah Reade Designs.  http://nuclearactive.org/ , scroll down the right side of page.  On the map Kotowski emphasizes the nuclear weapons industry’s cradle to grave operations in New Mexico – from uranium mining to disposal of nuclear weapons waste.

Kotowski has etched the word “restorative” into the Plexiglas covering of the map and printed the word “justice” multiple times into the map’s background to convey the demand for restorative justice now.

Kotowski’s piece was selected in a national competition for an exhibit titled, “Ink & Clay 45:  The Art of Type,” now showing at the Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona until November 18th.

In 2002, concerned about the fallout from the May 2000 Cerro Grande fire, which burned 7,000 acres of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Kotowski formed the Embudo Valley Environmental Monitoring Group.  She worked with the New Mexico Environment Department and LANL to establish air-monitoring stations downwind of LANL in the Embudo and Rio Grande watersheds.  http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NMED-Comment_Response_Matrix_11-30-2010_revised.pdf

In her Artist Statement, Kotowski refers to Marie Antoinette’s noted indifference to the deadly suffering of the common people by altering her famous words to “Let them eat yellow cake.”

Kotowski explains, “The pathways to exposure to radioactive and hazardous substances are the same, through the most basic requirements for life.  People living self-sufficient lifestyles were heavily reliant on the food they grew or gathered, the livestock being raised, and the animals hunted, for the water collected from rainfall and the water gathered from streams and rivers.  All of these basics to life were and remain contaminated by the nuclear weapons industry and its lack of regard for the health and safety of the people and the land that supports life.”  http://inkclay45.com/kotoski-full-statement.html


  1. Friday, August 26th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe. Celebrate the successful historic First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference negotiations at the United Nations (Aug. 1 to 26, 2022).  Attend to discuss next steps toward nuclear disarmament!



  1. Monday, October 3rd Scoping Comments due to DOE/NNSA/LANL about the Notice of Intent to Prepare a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Operations of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/08/19/2022-17901/notice-of-intent-to-prepare-a-site-wide-environmental-impact-statement-for-continued-operation-of    CCNS and Nuclear Watch NM prepared a sign-on letter requesting a two-month extension of time until Monday, December 5, 2022, to submit scoping comments.  To sign on, please email ccns@nuclearactive.org and request the letter for your review.  Thanks!



  1. Tuesday, September 6th New Mexico Interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Legislative Committee in Grants, NM. https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC



  1. Wednesday, November 16, 2022 Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) four-part Public Hearing at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 West Marcy, Santa Fe, NM.
  • First part: “Nuclear Safety at Area G, “ from noon to 2:30 pm;
  • Second part: “National Security Missions and Nuclear Safety Posture,” from 4 pm to 6 pm;
  • Third part: “Improving Safety systems, Safety Management Programs, and Oversight,” from 6:30 to 8:30 pm; and
  • Fourth part: “Public Comments and Wrap-up,” from 8:45 to 9:45 pm.

For more information:  https://www.dnfsb.gov/public-hearings-meetings/november-16-2022-public-hearing



  1. Pro Publica’s story and video of “New Mexico’s Death Map: Uranium and Nuclear Energy in the U.S.” are available at https://www.propublica.org/article/new-mexico-uranium-homestake-pollution?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=event&utm_term=20220816_Uranium%20Event%20Registrant%20List and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u0o48EWO-E

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