Things That Matter

Indigenous Mexican Artists Designed Three Limited Edition Xbox Controllers And I’m Hypnotized

So much of what we do, the things we like, and even the things we buy is rooted in our cultural identity. We want to express ourselves and highlight where we came from – as we should. From our fashion choices to the movies we watch, we have so many options to take pride in our communities.

And major brands are quickly realizing this. Case in point: Microsoft launched a limited edition series of Xbox game controllers designed by three Indigenous Mexican artisans. And they’re absolutely beautiful.

Xbox launches special controllers to honor International Day of Indigenous Peoples.

In celebration of the International Day Of Indigenous Peoples, and to highlight the history, traditions, and customs of Mexico’s original peoples, Xbox recently launched three different controllers designed by Indigenous artisans.

The three artisans were chosen as representatives of the country’s 68 different Indigenous communities and together they helped create the special edition controllers. The artisans chosen to work alongside Xbox on the project came from the Huichol (in Nayarit), from the towns of Olinalá in Guerrero, and from Tenango in Hidalgo.

Although the controllers aren’t functional, I can’t say I’d even want to use them to play games because they’re way too stunning. And besides, they were created to highlight the artistry and intricate techniques used by Mexico’s Indigenous people so that people both inside and outside the world of gaming will be more aware of the cultural value that indigenous peoples represent.

The Huichól-designed controller is rich in detailed bead work and full of color.

Mexico’s Huichól are from the western state of Nayarit and are well-known for intricate beadwork and that’s exactly what the team did with Xbox. Grisela Carillo, who was one of the participating artisans, explained that each motif expresses an important symbol or tradition for her community.

The controller is decorated with colorful Huichól beads, painted with flowers, or covered in Tenango embroidery. It’s an intricate and detailed piece of art.

In an Instagram post, the artisan involved explained that: “The symbols we used in each piece have a meaning, such as the corn which represents prosperity, the butterfly which brings good luck, the eye of God that is the protector of our children, the scorpion which is the protector of peyote and the deer who is the God of the ocean.”

In addition, she said that her mother also provided help with the project and was the one who taught her how to create objects like this one. “She gave the most delicate touches to the piece and I gave the final decoration touches,” added Carillo.

Another controller came from the state of Guerrero and it’s equally stunning.

The second of the Xbox controller was hand-painted with designs from the iconic floral art of Olinalá, a mountainous town in Guerrero state. It is inspired by the traditional wooden boxes that are painted with lináloe. The artisan involved, Francisco Coronel Redón, explained his work to Forbes:

“The central images are of the roses, flowers, and leaves that represent our tierra. We used many vibrant colors that help represent the spring, full of life and beautiful colors. The materials we use in this technique called ‘lináloe’ are natural pigments that we manufacture ourselves.”

Artisans from Tenango de Doria were involved in creating this controller to represent Hidalgo’s Indigenous communities.

The third controller was designed with intricate embroidery from the deeply rooted traditions of the communities of Tenango de Doria en Hidalgo state. A collective of local artisans – Tenangos Ma Hoi – helped lead the design and commented that “all the embroidery goes according to the mood of the person who is embroidering at that time.” That’s truly how art is created.

Tenango – which means ‘place of the walls’ – is known for the beauty and magic of its embroidery and each piece of thread carries the history of its community. In the Xbox controllers, animals and mother nature take center stage as the design’s main characters.

Each of these unique controllers represents generations of technique, skill, and tradition passed down through families and communities. In honor of the International Day Of Indigenous Peoples it’s great to see Indigenous artisans getting the opportunities they deserve to showcase these beautiful works of art.

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