“Antojo (Desire)” is a series of public recitations of a poem my mother taught me to perform when I lived in Guayaquil at age 10. Afro-Ecuadorean poet Adalberto Ortiz used vernacular language from the oral art tradition of Esmeraldas, an area in Ecuador originally settled by fugitive African slaves, to tell a cautionary tale about the dangers of miscegenation. “If you get with a white man/ Your children are almost Black/ Your children are almost White/ Your children are nothing.” I re-enact my childhood performance of this poem, using postcard-like panoramas of contemporary Guayaquil as my pictorial backdrops; I perform in front of the city’s redeveloped waterfront and in front of “picturesque” slums, decaying remnants of the city’s grand architectural structures, as well as in the kitschy Parque Historico (the Historical Park), a recently-constructed outdoor amusement park tribute to Guayaquil’s colonial past. Using my own phenotypically ambiguous appearance and hybrid identity as the daughter of a white “Gringo” father and a brown Ecuadorian mother, this piece explores questions of authenticity and the paradoxes of identity politics.
Projects > Memories of Development > Antojo/Desire
All images © Karina Aguilera Skvirsky 2014