When the Spanish came to the island of Hispaniola there were indigenous people living there, the Tainos. The Spaniards enslaved the Taino, forcing them to mine gold, and cultivate bananas and sugar cane, which they brought to the island from the Canary Islands. They also forcibly converted the Taino to Christianity. Within 200 years the Taino were wiped out by disease and the conditions of their enslavement.
My performance was designed to question and reimagine the fate of the Taino, and took place in the context of a festival, Kilometro Cero, whose aim was to interrogate the colonial history of the Dominican Republic. I did the performance in the Fort San Jose, one of the Spanish forts in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. First I was painted in gold by Mitali Nath. Then, as I lay on the ground Ruth Vigueras Bravo bound my hands and my feet, tying them to long ropes. Ruth passed the ropes to members of the public, who pulled on the ropes, forcibly extending my limbs and causing me to cry out. At first I was passive, but then I began to resist, contracting from my center and yelling. Finally I yelled “Release me!” and the people released me. I picked up long pieces of sugar cane, Bibles and bananas, and walked off into the darkness.