Virgil Ortiz is from Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, where he was born in 1969 and where he still lives. His grandmother Laurencita Herrera and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Pueblo potters. While Oritz works in several mediums, he primarily considers himself a potter.
His creations are focused on a historical event that occurred in his part of the world in 1680. The Pueblo Rebellion that took place in that year has been called the first American revolution. Pueblo tribes throughout the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico banded together to drive out the Spanish settlers, a goal they accomplished, ridding the province of 2,000 Spaniards.
Oritz tells that story through the creation of sci-fi characters leading the rebellion in the year 2180. In Ortiz’s story, Tahu, a young blind woman, leads the Venutian soldiers in a futuristic rebellion. With forces that include an army of blind archers and aeronauts she leads her people on a quest to find a new safe place to live after their homeland has been destroyed.
Photos are of Virgil Ortiz works on display at the Montclair (N.J.) Art Museum. You can see more of his art at https://www.virgilortiz.com/.