Abrons Art Center, New York City, NY, July 11th 2019, Photograper: Carina Martinez
Presented during EmergeNYC 2019 Cohort Works in Progress Showcase and created in collaboration with Domenica Garcia, this performance addresses the layers of violence that suffocate our connection to our true selves and rule over our identities through systemic forms of oppression, violence, and exploitation based on nation of origin, race, gender, sexuality, access to income, etc.
Two female-presenting individuals emerge wearing masks, latex gloves, and school uniforms. The performers sing and play hand-clapping games until their chanting transforms into screams that replicate popular Mexican chants sung on independence day, popular homophobic phrases commonly yelled during soccer matches, catcalls often said on the street to harass women and queer-identifying individuals, and a selection of popular children's songs.
As the chanting continues, the artists begin to remove layers of clothing one by one: masks, gloves, uniforms, and wigs, to reveal colorful makeup and undergarments that resemble human genitalia and internal organs covered in rhinestones. As they remove each of these from their body, the items are dipped into a bowl containing a mixture of fruit juice, honey, glitter, and paint before they are hung on a clothesline. As the items hang on the clothesline, they give the illusion of bloodied and dismembered human remains. This imagery alludes to the profound history of violence, disappearances, femicides, and ongoing trauma experienced in Mexico at the hands of the government, drug cartels, and gendered violence. This action continues for 20 minutes and concludes with the artists chanting a famous Mexican children's song sung during pinata parties as they hang themselves over the railing.
Qué energía se libera cuando exponemos nuestro interior? Cuantas capas de humanidad, de violencia, de nuestrx cuerpx, debemos tender para llegar a nuestra esencia? Todxs tenemos un Alebrije dentro.
What energy is unleashed when we reveal what lies inside? How many layers of our humanity, of violence, of our own bodies, must we hang before we can reach our essence? There’s an Alebrije in all of us.