Regreso, Performance and Video installation, Gorea island, Senegal 2019

The action consists in bringing messages from my family to our African ancestors at the door of no return on the island of Gorea where billions of African women, men and children were kidnapped and taken from their continent against their own will under the condition of slaves. 

In this work I act as a channel within my family. Two time periods are united symbolically in my action to express many of our experiences. Collecting all messages and reading them loud at this door is a symbolic act of communication over time. 

When I was there, and especially in the doorway, I cannot describe how I felt. My body was shivering the whole time, and I couldn’t think clearly. I only felt a great weight and all the energy that inhabited that place where so many human beings, in a struggle for survival, suffered, died, or survived. I keep thinking about this journey, and what they have asked themselves during the distance between that door and Cuba. I understood the scar with which my ancestors and survivors were able to arrive, alive, on the island of Cuba, uprooted by force from their previous lives and forced to erase their past. At the same time, I felt pride in being the progeny of survivors who had the strength to resist all of this and to give continuity to those of us who are here now. 

Gorée has a great emotional connotation for me. It is a point of reference in my personal history that goes beyond what is written in books. What happened to me in Gorée was more than a performance. It was the opportunity to express myself, my family, and, in a way, other human beings. It was the possibility of symbolically connecting our past with the present. This site for me is a place of communication and reference point with my ancestors. 

Courtesy: CIFO Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation