Once upon a time, in a land not that far away, a wonderful tourist destination would develop around the old seaside port of Puerto Vallarta. And there amongst its many colourful streets is a cinematic mural at 160 Paseo de Palmas featuring a movie that changed cinematic history with the world’s first true blockbuster film – Star Wars. Maybe you have heard of it?
For the occasion of photographing this huge mural, I call on local artist and friend Martin Jimenez Garcia, who happens to live just up the street from this wonderful piece. Martin is a man well-versed in many of the local Mexican legends. Martin and I have spent a number of years talking about Carlos Castaneda and his series of books, beginning with the Teaching of Don Juan. A book that documents the events that took place during an apprenticeship with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, Don Juan Matus from Sonora, Mexico between 1960 and 1965. Martin told me that this location was just a ruse to throw people off his track when the real people he was with were the indigenous Huichol or Wixárita tribe from Saint Andreas, Nayarit. A tribe that was never converted to Christianity by the Spanish because of the difficulty in accessing their lands.
Like myself, Martin was very impressed with the Huichol. He lived with this tribe in the mountains and eventually worked in a Vallarta gallery selling their art. Along the way he became very inspired by their original beadwork representing the myth and legends of these people and has been making works of art himself for the last 25 years.
You can find Martin on Saturday downtown at the local farmers market at stall no. 332, other wise you might find him in Bucerias or Punta Mita during the week selling his art.
Now how do you tie this in with Star Wars? Well, the answer is as fascinating as that first movie. Darth Vader aka Hernán Cortes lands on Cozumel’s coasts in February 1519. He is known as the man with the two heads – his own and the helmet, much like Darth Vader. He wanted to be the next Alexander the Great, according to T.R. Fehrenback in his book ‘Fire and Blood’. Cortes arrived much like the way the Empire arrives in the movie with awesome ships of a formidable size and shape supplied with ‘Advanced Technology’ and out to destroy any dissenting beliefs.
The Spanish learned well after being under the control of the Romans for six centuries. What has been switched around is that they now understood how to control a civilization by destroying its central core and blowing it to smithereens. Much like what Luke does to the Death Star; only someone reversed it for the film. Princess Lea is representative of Malinche, the Mexican wife of Cortes. Some say she was a traitor to her people. Lea’s place in the story has also been changed in the film to accommodate the story line but she has all the savvy and determination with which Malinche had.
So, where does Yoda fit into the greater scheme of things? Well, as Mexican legend has it, the Egerra Tree which houses a ‘duende’ or goblin type creature that takes young Mexicans and turns them into what they desire. Represented here as Yoda. You might remember Yoda is found in a formidable forest of trees in a swampy area. That has certain aspects of the lake Texcoco where Tenochtitlan, the capital of ancient Mexico was during those times. So one could surmise, as I have, the Star Wars saga is similar to the conquest of Mexico with many of the characters switched around to make the movie more plausible.
Star Wars Mural
Found at 160 Paseo de Palmas
In Colonia Mariano Otero
If you know of any murals you would like to direct me to outside of downtown Vallarta, you can address them to firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Puerto Vallarta Street Art.