June 16, 2008

Jason Garcia's Tewa Tales

Jason Garcia of Santa Clara Pueblo is one of the artists of the Comic Art Indigene exhibit in Santa Fe. Since I wasn't familiar with his work, I looked him up. Here's what I found:

Jason Garcia--Santa Clara PuebloJason is a son of noted potters Gloria Garcia (Goldenrod) and John Garcia. His early ceramics work focused primarily on figures and capturing Pueblo dances and activities in clay. As he was also interested in photography and drawing, the figures were certainly a way of giving form to his vision of the world around him. Three years ago, he began making clay tiles on which he painted Pueblo dancers and dances in the traditional two-dimensional painting style of Santa Clara. He also started to create a series of tiles that placed local Saints in contemporary context. While the paintings of the Pueblo dances were highly accurate in terms of costume and colors, his tiles of the Saints commented and critiqued on local events and problems. In 2003, Jason won his first major award, with a "Best of Division" at Santa Fe Indian Market for a set of his tiles depicting the Franciscan Saints. In 2004, he won the prestigious "Artist's Choice Award" for a large tile depicting the Pueblo Revolt. He was also commissioned by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, to make a "Pueblo Revolt" tile for their permanent collection!The Tewa Man in Black--Work

Comment:  You can see examples of Garcia's work if you follow the links.

The MySpace gallery has images from Garcia's "Tewa Tales" series. He's depicted the 1680 Pueblo Revolt in terms of comic-book covers. They include what look like homages to Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Conan, among other Marvel heroes.

The implication of these paintings is rather obvious, but I'll spell it out. To the Spanish, Popé and his followers were villains, terrorists, traitors. To the Pueblo Indians, they were revolutionaries, freedom fighters, heroes. How you view them depends on your cultural perspective.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

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