areito-indestructible-1Areito Indestructible (2016) by Teresa María Díaz Nerio for BE.BOP 2016. Black Europe Body Politics. Call and Response.

Areito Indestructible (2016) is first of all an areito, a Taíno celebration with dance and chant in remembrance of our ancestors lives and tribulations. It is an homage to our loved ones who have continued their journey beyond this realm, that is the case with our beloved Anika Gibbons, womanist filmmaker, who gave us the gift of her amazing film “Journey To Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology and Womanist Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.” My enlightened sister Anika transmitted a revelation from Spirit suggesting me to ‘take a peak at Africa as well, as Africa appears greatly in your work’ and predicting my more committed involvement with languages ‘there is something in Spanish, Haitian languages and African languages, there is something in there for you.’ My sister Anika could see through me and how much I love and yearn for language, for our mother tongues lost, hidden in plain sight and forgotten.  This areito in tongues, will use some Taíno, Spanish, Haitian Creole, English and Mandarin and references to other languages, also from the African continent. The inspiration for this lecture-performance and its use of languages derives from some research I have done about Kālī, creator-goddess, the Black one, in collaboration with my friend Alonso Varo Varo, a Spanish language scholar and fervent yogi.  Anika’s words during her presentation at BE.BOP 2014, ‘You are already divine, you are a Black woman, God is in you’ perfectly embody my commitment to further research on the empowering womanist and linguistic gifts of  acknowledging the creator in Kālī.  Another force in this performance is my research on race relations in the Spanish speaking Caribbean, and the racialized stereotypes imposed on us during colonialism, enslavement, and its aftermath. This time inspired by the first comercial Puerto Rican film Maruja (1959) and its references to race, sexuality, the construction of a national ‘identity’ and U.S. colonial intervention in the island. Maruja speaks of Caribbean Black womanhood as an island, she comes to represent the faith of her land. Exchanges with Emilia Muller-Ginorio, from Arika, around different subjects, like anthropophagic subjectivity, also nurtured this work, she generously helped me get the film and a Puerto Rican pava, the jíbaro’s hat famously ‘representing’ Puerto Rican identity.  Binding all these inspiring conversations and my own research ‘Ni ‘mamita’ Ni ‘mulatita’: Caribbean Woman’s Stereotypes and the Diaspora’ I have come to find a ‘Caribbean version of Kālī”, as Alonso suggested, in Santa Marta La Dominadora, a very powerful African-born loa celebrated in the Caribbean and the Yoruba Orisha Yemayá, motherly creator-goddess, owner of the oceans. Areito Indestructible as a ceremony celebrates the Caribbean sea,  with Yemayá and our ancestors which inhabit the depths of infinite creation, the power of water, the power of the sea, through and with our Black goddesses and mothers Kālī and Santa Marta La Dominadora. Inspired by the Ethiopian tribe of the Hamers and their beautifully achieved hairstyle, i embrace the redness of clay, the Earth, as a grounding element. Hair and most specifically traditional African hairstyles have being of great influence in this work. Fashioning a mythological self bordering every time that was and is in me.

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And at the  birthplace of Aphrodite!

image1Areito Indestructible (2016). Photo by Yiannis Hadjiaslanis, during PERFORMANCE BIENNIAL: “NO FUTURE”, 4 July 2016, Cythera Island, Greece. Initiated and organized by Gigi Argyropoulou, Vassilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis.

 

image2Areito Indestructible (2016). Photo by Yiannis Hadjiaslanis, during PERFORMANCE BIENNIAL: “NO FUTURE”, 4 July 2016, Cythera Island, Greece. Initiated and organized by Gigi Argyropoulou, Vassilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis.

image5Areito Indestructible (2016). Photo by Yiannis Hadjiaslanis, during PERFORMANCE BIENNIAL: “NO FUTURE”, 4 July 2016, Cythera Island, Greece. Initiated and organized by Gigi Argyropoulou, Vassilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis.

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