Marlene Tafoya

Presents Aim high Aim low, an interactive installation inspired by a hybridization of Aztec, Catholic, and Native American rituals that make up her cultural background. The centerpiece of her performance is a piñata in the shape of a seven-point star. During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, Catholic priests used seven-point star piñatas to indoctrinate the Aztecs in the seven deadly sins and to provide a metaphor for the heavenly rewards that await those who resist sinful behavior. This tactic and others like it were used to colonize the Aztec people and replace indigenous ceremonial rituals. The piñata was a particularly effective tool as the Aztecs engaged in a similar activity to celebrate the birthday of Huitzlopochtli, the god of the sun and war. The Aztec ritual featured a clay pot filled with feathers, suspended above a statue representing Huitzlopochtli. When the clay pot was broken, after several attempts by blindfolded participants, the feathers would fall to the feet of the god like so many fallen warriors.Tafoya's piñata will be filled with sage bundles that she and friends have gathered in the tradition of Native Americans; offering tobacco in exchange. For Tafoya, the breaking of this sage-filled piñata is an act of protest against the colonization and cultural erasure of her ancestors.