Exhibition and Performance: Charo Oquet’s “Arrayanos”

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Charo Oquet’s large exhibition and performance “Arrayanos”—large visual installation that brings together multiple formats and fragments of work—will premiere at Edge Zones Gallery (3317 NW 7th Avenue Circle, Miami, Florida) on March 17 and 18, 2017, at 8:00pm. This event is free and open to the public. There will be a press preview on Wednesday, March 15, at 8:00pm. This show is curated by Samuel Ibarra Covarrubias with co-director Krzysztof Leon Dziemaszkiewicz, and music by Gregorio Alvarez, Eduardo Alvarez, and Miguel Valentine.

Description: Arrayanos is the latest creation by interdisciplinary artist Charo Oquet that summarizes sections of research that expands over 20 years of her work. Oquet has entered into the rhythmic and luminous world of Arrayano culture, a human group that inhabits the borders of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and has a very deep spiritual imagery that materializes in songs, dances and syncretic religious devotions. The Arrayano people do not have an easy existence as settling in a geopolitically indeterminate space their lives lack social policies that assure basic conditions of life.

Oquet has investigated this culture especially their spiritual devotional world that has very extended connections with deep Africa. Their songs, dances and rituals are crossed by hopes and dreams of the future, by the idea that the gods dance and accompany the fervor and prayers of the people who ask for health, well-being and peace.

In this Arrayanos project, Oquet positions anthropological and social performative readings to create a work that enters into dialogue with the stories of her life as an artist has and the place she takes to work on and intervene. The city of Miami as a hub of crosses and exchanges gives her the opportunity to address multiple diasporas that live in it, Dominicans, Haitians, Puerto Ricans, African-Americans.

Arrayanos is a creation process that Oquet started in the beginning of the 90s in his native Dominican Republic, but has also been conceptualized with readings, residencies and creation processes in to name a few: Spain, New Zealand, Istanbul, France, Haiti, Berlin or Norway. In all these places, Oquet has modeled a work that crosses the documentary video, photography, painting, engraving, installation and collage, but also textile art and copious bibliographical research.

Arrayanos is a new “live documentary” integrates video, installation and film, narration, and live performance. Inspired by the new “live documentary” form of artists such as Sam Green, whose “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” is a documentary film presented as a unique performative experience with live musicians, “Arrayanos” creates a dialogue about Haitian/Dominican relations through the lens of “Gaga,” an Afro-Caribbean music/dance ritual form. Gaga is a vibrant folk tradition that traveled from Haiti (where it was known as “Rara”) to the Dominican Republic starting circa 1844 via the migration of sugar cane plantation workers. It incorporates elements of ritual, folklore, fertility rites, music, dance, colorful costumes, and interrogation of the roles of gender, class, and authority. [. . .]

About the artist: Dominican born Miami based, Charo Oquet, was named a South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellow in 2015 and 2005.  She has received several prestigious grants from entities such as MAP Fund 2014, Museum of Modern of Santo Domingo 2011, Florida State 2015, Performing America of the National Performance Network and the QEII Arts Council of New Zealand. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at Pavilion of Contemporary Art (PAC), Italy; Ft. Lauderdale Museum, Bass Museum, New Zealand National Gallery, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ., New Zealand National Museum, Casal Solleric, Spain, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Denmark Ballhaus Naunynstraße, Berlin, Kunstnerne Hus, Norway. Her work has been featured in notable publications and is found in the permanent collections of the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno; Spain; the Ft Lauderdale and Frost Museum of Florida; New Zealand National Museum, Wellington, N.Z.; Govett-Brewter Art Gallery, N.Z.; and The World Bank. A book of her work was published. A book of her work was published in Spain in 2002.

For more information, contact: Charo Oquet at (305) 303 8852 or edgezones@me.com.

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