Ortiz, Virgil – “Tahu The Blind Archer 2180” Jar (2019)
This is striking new jar by Virgil Ortiz. The jar features a futuristic version of Tahu, the Blind Archer, in a 2180 style. The story for the imagery on this piece comes from Virgil’s work focusing on the Pueblo Revolt 1680 and his futuristic 2180. He has continued to create pieces in this series since 2007.
“In 2007 Ortiz began to identify and give form to characters who would populate his fictionalized version of the Pueblo Revolt: Tahu, a girl blinded by the Spanish conquistadors; Mopez, the leader of the Pueblo Runners; and the Castilians to represent the Spanish invaders. The characters who make up the Pueblo Revolt series are inspired by names and words in Keres (the indigenous language of Cochiti Pueblo) and other Puebloan languages. “Tahu” is a word used as a sign of respect for older Pueblo women. “Mopez” means “cardinal” and was the Keres name of Ortiz’s brother. “I wanted to use native language words and names to identify the characters. Part of the Revolt story had to be the actual events, but I also wanted it to tie into our language. If I could get the kids interested in history I might also be able to get them interested in our language and keep it alive.” “Virgil Oritz: Revolt 1680/2180”, Charles S. King
On this jar, Tahu has a stylized and sleek appearance. As the jar is turned you can see the feathers on her helmet and back. The reverse side of the jar has a stylized snake. For Virgil, the snake is a symbol of transformation. The body of the snake is made up of sun and wildflower designs. Can you see the “spirit line” in the design? It is at the top of the first tile on the left! The spirit line is a break in the painting and used on traditional Cochiti pottery. Virgil has also incorporated his signature “x”, which is the turkey track into the designs. The tiles are painted with native clay slips and wild spinach (a plant) for the black. The piece is signed on the back. The use of traditional and contemporary imagery has become a standard for Virgil’s pottery as he pushes the boundaries of contemporary Native clay.