This work was a collaboration with Santos Hernandez from Chamula – the protagonist, Baha Al-Zain from Jordan/Palestine, the EZLN Elambo community and EDELO. Together, we created a mythical public spectacle that reflected the need to create myths to understand the complexities and layers of disability, autonomy, violence, cultural appropriation, and colonialism.
The body and the subconscious endure the trauma inflicted by the ill that plagues society: to decolonize the generational terror of white supremist/ableist mindset, we needed to communally act out our traumas through our bodies. This ritualistic acknowledgement and blessing are a powerful way to alleviate ourselves and create our own myth.
We acted out a scene of violent burial juxtaposed with a scenario in which Santos became a warrior god. In this work, Santos created his own narrative, choosing his own Mayan warrior costume and approving or rejecting various props or actions to best reflect his descent, his perception of his body, and the indigenous history of the broader community.
“This creation of this work was very organic in its nature, every collaborator brought their own delineation for the path of the piece, but somehow it all came together. By the time the final performance day came we were able to enter the experience as if we were figures in an actual dream acting out our generational traumas and desired hallucinations and transforming them, using collective symbology. It felt as if we created a dream telepathy where the potent symbolism was shared from one person’s subconscious to the others, and this overlap created collective non-linear healing.
The work seemed to function cross-culturally as potent for all the collaborators there that day, everyone connecting to it with a different reference point of meaning. For example, my ancestors were killed by the Nazis for being Jews in Eastern Europe, so the position of the limbs formed a swastika in my mind, I was able to go to that ancestral past, confront and release some of that pain. Santos and the Elambo community were relating the dismembered limbs to the Mesoamerican Aztec Goddess Coyolxauhqui. Baha Al-zain a performer from Palestine was relating it to demonization and resistance of his people. It continues to function in this manor in exhibition, for example a Tibetan man who saw it in exhibition told me it had cultural significance to him because it resembled the Buddhist Tibetan Sky Burial Ceremony.
Working in our collective subconscious has a depth of meaning I am just becoming able to imagine the power of. Letting ourselves let go of our defined reality we can come to a place where the heart of life is what can alchemize us away from the pain of our perceived separation.”
Dedicado a Pablo Milan *** RIP Hermano
Elambo Bajo EZLN, Mexico 2018
EDELO Collaborative lead by Mia
Santos Hernandez, Baha Al-Zain,
Three-Month Residency, Community Workshops and Performance