A Space to Explore & Reflect
What is it like creating work collaboratively that is about us, for us, and by us?
Descubrimiento channeled all the great beauty that our community possess - history, dance, food, community activism, climaxing with a platform of community response. The presence of the Latinx community was vital to the piece as seen through the gathered performers and audience members. We became one through our stories and strength as embodied through the dances and music that were performed. Como Latina, it is what I want to see, it is what I want my art to look and feel like. We have always faced the challenges of being the other in this country, not seeing ourselves fully reflected as a great people who have contributed to the greatness of this country. Being a part of Descubrimiento brought back the challenges I faced as a young child growing up in East Harlem and discovering that the Puerto Rican community held its own, stayed intact because our cultural riches allowed us to channel those resources making it possible to survive and thrived. Participating in Descubrimiento made me stronger in moving forward in the world as a dance artist. It gave me the boost I needed to continue to create and believe in the power that we possess in our diverse Latinx communites. Pa'lante siempre palante! - Sandra Rivera
DESCUBRIMIENTO encouraged us to interact and engage with multimedia and live demonstrations through prompts and a gallery style walk-thru. This experience was curated to have intersections on a variety of levels; attendees were observers, collaborators were hosts, performers were scribes, etc. In over a span of an hour and a half, there were shared happenings through musical and dance improvisations, food tasting, flash mobs and culminating with an opportunity to respond in whatever capacity you felt most comfortable about your time DISCOVERING, whether it be written, spoken or drawn.
I truly felt that many people discovered, uncovered, uprooted elements of themselves and brought them forth to the table. Creating space and a place to have multi-level intersections has felt needed for a very long time regardless of race, gender, class, etc.
As for my participation, it was an opportunity to share a piece of my artistic journey, my cultural heritage and my love for community within the context of claiming and showcasing our voice, identity and collective importance. OUR STORY MATTERS and the event brings forth how and why.
- Franchesca Marisol Cabrera
I am a Latina, choreographer, and dance educator originally from Houston, TX and currently working in New York City. It was an honor and pleasure to work with the other artists of Descubrimiento: Voice, Place, Identity. The project’s process and immersive experience truly provided a space for dialogue, reflection, and discovery; space that is rare to find and so needed in our society today.
Within the process, we, Latinx artists, came together, shared our art, our individual stories de nuestras familias, comidas, music, y más, and celebrated the many intersections we found, learning more about each other and ourselves.
Artistic director of the project, Kiri Avelar, created an immersive experience from our work together, that provided a stage to spotlight our discoveries, and an environment to spark and encourage conversation and reflection for all the community that came to be part of it. For me, it was a magical and important place to be, one I have never experienced before, one I long to be back in again.
- Michelle Manzanales