Two worlds collided when Indigenous artisans came together to use a modern-day contraption as a canvas for their traditional artwork. Three groups of artisans representing the 68 Indigenous communities of Mexico worked to commemorate International Day of Indigenous Peoples through their artwork celebrating their culture. The stunning and colorful controllers are artisan collectibles that are NOT available for sale. The collaboration was meant to honor the legacy of Indigenous cultures while merging modern-day expressions of art, in this case video games. Each controller showcases the unique style of art from a specific Indigenous community, designed by artisans from those respective communities.
Artist Cukate (Huichol from Nayarit) honored their tradition of mysticism and how they incorporate nature and the moon and sun into ceremonies and stories. The controller features designs of the Huichol technique was crafted by artisans who collaborated with Cukate, who depicted some of their religious practices in this piece. “The symbols represented in each artwork have a meaning, such as the corn, which means prosperity; the butterfly that is good luck; the eye of God as the protector of children; the scorpion that is the protector of peyote; and the deer that is the god of the ocean,” Grisela Carillo Carillo, Huichol artisan said in a statement.
“My relationship with my mother has changed since I started working with her. I really appreciate the knowledge she has transferred to me. Thanks to that, today, I can support myself and I can connect with people who appreciate this type of art. My mom and I worked on this controller. She took care of the most delicate touches while and I worked on its final decoration.”
The Olinalá reside in the mountainous region of Guerrero surrounded by lináloe, a wood with a distinct aroma that used to make boxes. They use Limestone, natural colorants, oils, feathers, thorns, animal hair, and several types of clay to create lacquered reliefs on the box.Their controller was made by the Training Unit to rescue, preserve, and enhance the art of lacquering of Olinalá of the Instituto de Capacitación para el Trabajo Olinalá (ICAT – Olinalá).
“The elements in the controller are roses, flowers, and leaves. We call it a ‘vined’ pattern. We used some shades that we refer to as ‘spring’ to add relief to the controller and make the art look alive with beautiful colors. The materials that we use in this technique called ‘dorado’ are natural pigments that we manufacture ourselves,” Francisco Coronel Redón, who is also part of ICAT – Olinalá said in a statement.
The Tenango controller rounds out the collection with an emphasis on handmade embroidery that’s used to tell the story of this community in the Sierra. The artisans of Tenangos Ma Hoi worked on one of these colorful controllers, that were inspired by nature and their environment. “All the embroidery reflects the mood of the artisan,” Victoria Lucas Patricio from Tenangos Ma Hoi, who wove the controller’s cover, explained in a press release.
The ancestral techniques these artisans have inherited carry on their legacy and continue to provide for their community and with this kind of spotlight on it, people beyond their communities will now know of their artwork.“I want this legacy to carry on. Perhaps my children will learn it from me, and that could be a small trace that I will leave to them,” Hortencio Vargas Sevilla, a painter who collaborates with the artisans of Tenangos Ma Hoi, said in a press release.