Areíto Yagua Ko is a project of my own and curated by Yina Jimenez Suriel.
When the call for the Ghetto Bienale arose, I was in Guadalupe enjoying a creation residence at the Acte Memorial Museum in Point a Pitre, a residence I won in the prestigious Eduardo León Jimenes art competition. I worked the project online with the help of my partner Sandro Ausina, who helps me with the production and keeps my agenda. When I received the news that I had been selected I was participating in the Tiltin Axis 5 where I coincided with Yina Jimenez, who had been my curator in the León Jimenes Center contest, and I proposed the curatorship of this performance.
Although this project was born from something very personal, from my Haitian experience from cultural heritage, I also understand that a project like Areíto conceptually speaks of sharing ideas, visions, I wanted it to be a piece of dialogue, so I integrated Yina's curatorial work. She contributed knowledge of architecture and philosophy and we both united an interest and a need, to get closer to our next cultures and to know Port-au-Prince.
Since she joined the project, Yina began to contribute her opinions in the development of the piece, linking dialogues and expanding knowledge. One of the most important tasks for the execution of the piece was to find that space where the action was going to take place and the installation after the action. Yina did her work, it was five days before my arrival in Port-au-Prince for the Ghetto Biennale and found me that space. I am satisfied with the curatorial work, I think it is important for the fluidity of the pieces.
For a few years I knew about the Ghetto Biennale from the comments on the networks and I knew that other Dominican artists had participated: Engel Leonardo and Ismael Ogando, colleagues that I value and respect their work. I was informed, I read articles about the Ghetto Biennale and I liked the concept of the biennial that was being spun in Ayiti. I waited for Ayiti's inspiration to flourish in me, I looked for my origins, my mixes, my Haitian side.
Haiti is present in the Dominican imagination between a denial and a reality that is constantly evident. I want a transformation in my visions, I want to know Haitian Creole, studying its culture is a need that I have. That is why I sent a project that spoke of communion, announcing parties and reclaiming memory.
Areítos to evoke rites in pursuit of environmental balance, mutated into present dances such as those embodied in the posters, taken as a reference from Gaga, a culture that I photographed in the bateyes of San Pedro de Macorix. The Areítos were an expression where the mythologies of the original peoples of the islands were told, they were festivals and tributes of past events, now in our present this Areíto celebrates a moment as disruptive as the Haitian revolution was and is indeed.
Photos by Roberto N. Peyre