Ortiz, Virgil – “MMIWG : MIIICH” Clay Sculpture
The pieces Virgil Ortiz has created an exceptional new series of pieces for “Taboo II: Fearless. Unshaken. Inspiring”. Virgil has focuses on various new topics of social commentary. Each piece is coil built, painted with wild spinach (black) and clay slips. This piece is entitled, “MMIWG : MIIICH”. Virgil says of this piece:
“MMIWG are the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. There is an innate difficulty to grapple with the extent and impact of these missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls. At a rate of 15 missing each day, they are rarely accounted for in federal statistics. The impact ranges from reservations to urban communities. This piece was created to bring awareness to this epidemic. The spirits of these missing women and girls need guidance to the next life – many of them have not been given a proper burial and send-off. The hummingbirds, or “Miiich” in the Keres language, serve as guides and protectors for these lost mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and loved ones so that they are able to return home.” -Virgil Ortiz
The piece is a large scale sculpture which is dramatic in form, design, and concept Technically, note the shape of the piece which is overall a bird form. The shape is also technically difficult to make with various angular edges and swooping lines. Many of the hummingbirds are also raised in relief, a first for Virgil in his work. The hummingbirds are symbolic of his mother, Seferina Ortiz. Note as well on the edge opposite the woman wearing the tablita that there is a single black hummingbird, which is meant to be the spirit messenger for those women and girls who are missing. It is an extraordinarily powerful piece in clay and speaks to Virgil’s unique ability to use the clay to visually tell both a story and help to educate people about the missing indigenous women and girls.
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