El Niño Avilés

Photos by Greg Paul

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

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.

El Niño Avilés by Jose Campeche
El Niño Avilés by Jose Campeche

Erratic movements, split faced tribal makeup, Dios te Salve Maria recited franticly.
Eventually my hands are bound behind me by an audience member, drawing a parallel to Campeche’s nude armless 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.

Created for Performeando: Home at the Queens Museum.