El Niño Avilés

Geraldo Mercado El Nino Aviles
Si tu supieras mi sufrimiento
si te contara la imensa maldura que siento tan dentro
la triste historia que noche tras noche
de dolor y pena
llena mi alma surgea mi memoria
como una condena

photos by Greg Paul

A performance based on a painting by José Campeche, a rococo painter recognized as the first Puerto Rican visual artist, and a song by Tito Rodriguez, an influential Puerto Rican salsa singer.

Created for Performeando: Home at the Queens Museum. Lines from the song “Si Te Contara” were recontextualized as a mantra:

Si lo Supieras, te Importaria
If You Knew, It would matter to You

Erratic movements, split faced tribal makeup, Dios te Salve Maria recited franticly.
Eventually my hands are bound behind me by an audience member, suggesting the image of Campeche’s El Niño Avilés”, a painting of a morose armless nude baby.
I command the audience to remove my boots, I writhe on top of them, all to the sounds of coquis chirping on an old cassette tape. I struggle to translate Tito Rodriguez’s words into english.