source: instagram.com/virgilortiz
A model in costume as 'Translator, Commander of the Spirit World Army,' one of the 19 characters in the Evolution film project being planned by Virgil Ortiz

The Natives Strike Back: Pueblo Revolt Reimagined, 'Star Wars' Style

Dominique Godreche
10/24/13

Cochiti Pueblo potter Virgil Ortiz has progressed from clay to fashion, along the way collaborating with designer Dona Karan of DKNY. He's now set to evolve again, with "Evolution" a film project rooted in his edgy pottery designs and futuristic fashion.

What is the connection between your last "Clay and Fashion" project and the present one, "Evolution"?

The clay project addressed the influences of my pottery on my fashion, and vice versa. My garments and handbags [are ways to] wear my pottery designs. How that process goes back and forth, having taken images from my pottery, to integrate them in my fashion.

Tahu | Star Moto | 2013 eVOlution Series by Virgil Ortiz

My new project, "Evolution," is a movie script I am writing, my interpretation of the nineteen Pueblos' revolt, when they came together in 1680 under the direction of the leader Po'pay.

The nineteen characters represent the nineteen pueblos, dressed with my costumes. I will not mention them as Cochiti, Santa Clara, or give them names. But they will be symbolic of the 19 pueblos, every tribe wearing a different look, taken from my pottery. The movie will integrate my pottery designs, in 3D images. In each series, there will be different characters—the "Pilots," the "Translators," the "Runners"—those 19 characters, each one different, represent the New Mexico Pueblos. So here again, I'm working with different mediums—pottery and fashion. And I am also doing the soundtrack. I'm designing the whole project.

Aeronaut | Pilot of the Survivorship Armada by Virgil Ortiz

What made you decide to start this project?

The Pueblo revolt is not taught in history classes: with this project, I speak about that first American Revolution, breaking down the script into different series, to make a feature movie about the Pueblo revolt as seen by me, through my characters. It will resemble Star Trek or Star Wars, but with Native characters, and actors—a two-hour movie, with my understanding of history. The movie will give a better story, and get the kids interested, making it easier for them to understand history.

Magi | Aeronaut | Pilot of the Survivorship Armada by Virgil Ortiz

What are your sources for writing the script?

My sources are mostly transmitted verbally though the elders, as not a lot is written. The nineteen pueblo elders know that story: how all the pueblos came together to push the Spaniards out, the real history of New Mexico. This genocide has to be told; and how so many Indians were killed.  I want to educate about what really happened, because non-Natives do no talk about it—it's shameful. We will know the exact information now.

Image created by Virgil Ortiz showing his clay Venutian Soldier Series translated into costumes for his Evolution movie project

For more on Virgil Ortiz, visit VirgilOrtiz.com and Facebook.com/VirgilOrtiz. Images in this story come from Instagram.com/virgilortiz.

Promotional image for Virgil Ortiz's Evolution project show at 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Promotional image for Virgil Ortiz's Evolution project show at 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Promotional image for Virgil Ortiz's Evolution project show at 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Promotional image for Virgil Ortiz's Evolution project show at 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Artist Virgil Ortiz in a promotional image for his Evolution project show at 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market.

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Non Pueblo Artist's picture
Non Pueblo Artist
Submitted by Non Pueblo Artist on
Cute. I doubt there is even one full blood pueblo alive today. Its a big ole spanish0white mix stew out there in northern New Mexico. You always see the artists from that area, struggling with their identities or lack of in their art. Then again, the mix makes them more marketable, kind of the Cosby's of indian country. Carry On.

hesutu's picture
hesutu
Submitted by hesutu on
This film project sounds totally amazing and the preproduction artwork is gorgeous. I hope you are able to attain your dream of making this movie. These stories need to be told by us.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
This is a long overdue project whose time has come. I know about the Pueblo revolt only because I live in New Mexico and I'm a school librarian. I try to push my interested students toward the REAL U.S. history (especially as we natives know it) as they're rarely taught this in class. I find it horribly offensive that there is a high school named after Don Juan de Onate who was responsible for cutting off the right foot of all males over the age of 12 as punishment for this revolt.
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