NATHALIE MBA BIKORO
This work explores the tangible connective histories between West Africa and Latin America and issues of modern identities. For this edition, “El Carrusel” developed as a site-specific action commemorating the histories of the indigenous peoples of Bogota and their sacred lands, as well as an exploration of contemporary politics of Bogota. It focuses on the ley line energy points in the Parque de la Independencia, an ancient ritual ground for life and death, astrology and communication. Each ley line energy point is revisited and a ritual of historical remembering re-enacted, connecting the past to the contemporary voice of the young.
At one energy point rests an abandoned carousel. To connect the carousel to the story of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, I reactivate the old carousel with the strength and solidarity of the donkey. The donkey in most cultures is a representation of the people, the proletariat, the enslaved and the stupid. Ironically, the donkey is one of the most intelligent and docile animals on earth even though it has been represented throughout cultures as a shamed animal, from being represented as a Jew and stoned to death in cages during Nazi Germany to being seen as the enslaved animal of labour.
In this action, the donkey re-animates the carousel with me, because it is the imagination of the child and the dreaming of the people from “below” that will release the curse and make free and unite the indigenous peoples. The audience joins in the action by helping turn the carousel and children get free rides on the back of the donkey. As the carousel turns with lights and hanging bananas (hanging men), the bananas slowly fall from the ropes and drop free whilst the Grand Kalle music track “Independence ChaCha” plays continuously in the background.