"Yemaya, We are Here, because you were there," a performance piece and commentary of the existences of a new Black culture generated from The New World focusing on Yoruba Orisha Yemaya, ruler over the seas, mother, goddess of home, fertility, love and family. Collaborationn with Melanie Gonzalez video projection and performer Dada Coz.
Presented at One Step Beyond at The American Museum of Natural History.
Performer: Dada Coz / Make up Artis: Laura / Photographer: Ezequiel Taveras / Video Edit: Melanie Gonzalez
“We Are All Here, Because We Are Not All There” is a series introducing a Three Pointed Zemi inspired sculpture. Zemis played an important role in the culture of Tainos in the West Indies. Translated into “Sacred Things,” Zemis were rooted in ancestor worship during the Areitos ceremonies. This first group of the collective is a reflection of resilient Dominican women who have inspired the artist.
The combination of the Headdress inspired by Tianos and Africans slaves in the Dominican Republic and the organically hand knitted dress with European influences relates to the complexity of a multicultural and multiracial history. Here the artist blends religious reference from all part of her heritage in order to form a representation of herself. This piece is described as a self-portrait.
Presented at Andrew Freedman Home, Innuendos: The Voices of Ten Bronxite Women for Women History Month and Yeah Thats What She Said group exhibit at Babycastles.
Photo Credit: Melanie Gonzalez Art
Rituals of An Ancestral Romance
In search of self-identity the artist gathers the narrative of her family through stories passed down from one generation to another. As all that is unknown and not experienced at first hand is romanticize, the artist creates a mystical environment for her ancestors. Rodriguez leaves it up to memory to recreate the faces, voices, and each aura of these individual. She imagines them with birds like features wrapped around in gold skin.
The Dominican Republic has a record for misspelling individual’s names in their birth certificate and occasionally on their tombstones. Numerous Dominicans find it difficult to trace back their history, falling into a man haunt for self-discovery. Rodriguez represents those Dominican in search of answers. This is evident in her series “Rituals of an Ancestral Romance.”
Photo Credit: Melanie Gonzalez Art
"El Matrimonio Quisqueyano" translated to "The Marriage of Quisqueya" is a Fashion Photography series which discusses the environmental, racial, economical, and political issues that still challenges the island of Quisqueya where modern day Dominican Republic and Haiti reside. The artist conveys the harsh reality constantly ignored by politicians through the use of historical symbolic imagery illustrated in the collection with embroidery and laser cut techniques.
The male figure represents the land and the original inhabitants of the island. The female stands for the politician and their corrupt governing. The relationship between the people and the government is very obscure. In "Dinner for Two" Rodriguez discusses how the lack of nutrition is negatively affecting the people. Rodriguez focuses on communicating with the viewers that by neglecting the land you are essentially degrading the value it could potentially provide for its people. The artist again goes back to the subject with "Hunger."
In "El Matrimonio Quisqueyano" Rodriguez speaks about inequality, racial struggles, and the enforcement of Christianity. The use of butterflies in this image is a representation of The Mirabal Sisters known as National Heroines of the Dominican Republic. Their bravery and active role against the dictatorship of Trujillo era has given them their place in history. The artist uses the butterfly as a reminder to herself and the audience of that bravery.
Presented at Bloomingdales "B The Next", La Lucha I, Centro Cultural de España, and at BRAC.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Grassi Photography
"La danza de Mingó" written by Dominican playwright Haffe Serulle , was presented at the Rafael Villalona, the Dominican Cultural Commission in the United States Theatre. "La danza de Mingó" was staged by "Otro Teatro NY" during the IX Dominican Book Fair in New York. The play is directed by Billy Martin Mejia, starring Angie Regina, Maite Bonilla and Francis Mateo. In the co- management and training is Arturo López ; original music by Jorge Suberví and wardrobe by Yelaine Rodriguez.
The Dominican Commissioner of Culture in the United States, an organization of the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic , commemorated the 41st anniversary of the death of Florinda Soriano ( Mama Tingo ) with "La danza de Mingó." "La danza de Mingó" speaks of the class struggles during the early 70s Dominican Rep., the organization of workers, the undisputed role of women in social struggles in the Dominican Republic summarized and discussed through the life of Florinda Soriano , better known as Mama Tingo .
Presented at the Dominican Cultural Commission in the US during the IX Dominican Book Fair in New York.
Photo Credit: Wendy Mella Carreño
"We are Here, because you were there" is a performance piece inspired by cultural theorist Stuart Hall's quote. A commentary of the existences of a new Black culture created from The New World. Concentrated in Haitian and Dominican roots and traditions this performance looks at Manman Brigitte the death loa in Vodou. She protects the gravestones in cemetery. This is an example of how the mixture of different cultures whether by force or choice often create a counter culture.
Solar Plate Prints:
"We Are Here, Because We are Not All There Series & "Rituals of an Ancestral Romance"