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Nicolás Dumit Estévez Interviewed in Small Axe

Posted on February 18, 2015

Nicolás Dumit Estévez, C Room, 2014 at Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic. Photograph: Raymond Marrero.

Small Axe recently profiled En Mas’ contributing artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez. Estévez, in conversation with Maja Horn, describes his relationship to the Caribbean and its diasporas as well as the impact that his performance C Room, created specifically for En Mas’, has had on his ever-evolving notions of identity.

It has become clear to me that the Caribbean as a mental-spiritual-physical locus is the fiery cauldron out of which everything that I was, am, and will be grows. This witches’ cauldron, radically speaking, is where my cosmology boils like a thick sancocho. I see this soupy mess as a Big Bang always in the making and never reaching a state of completion. At the end of the day, it may well be that caribeñidad encapsulates any possible identities I may dream of undertaking; I never think of myself in traditional diasporic terms, but more as a two-legged island overlapping/interacting with the geographies I encounter along my path.

However, going back to Santiago in 2013 shifted this pattern for me. The reason for returning to the island was to produce C Room, an eight-hour multidimensional experience part of En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, a project curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson. C Room entailed working in the context of the local carnival. At the end of my stay, as my friend Josué Gómez had suggested, I found a piece of my umbilical cord that remained buried in the Dominican soil. There are still many more pieces of it to be excavated. The carnival provided for me the context for an active enactment of family. More than that, the presentation of C Room at the Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel shook some of the identitarian foundation that I had been carefully building abroad, brick by brick. Have I gone full circle in regards to dominicanidad?

The interview goes on to discuss Estévez’ performance art oeuvre, his mentorship under legendary performance artist Linda Mary Montano, and his challenge of traditional gender stereotypes in his artistic practice.

To read the full article, visit the Small Axe website, here.

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