Takahi my relatives
On Saturday July 31 2021 I had the honor of participating in a great block party in front of the GALERIA DEL BARRIO art gallery in East Harlem, New York City. The block party was part of a multi-week exhibit at the gallery which featured the work of the Boricua artist Miguel Luciano. Miguel was concluding a three-year residency at the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART. The museum sponsored his exhibit at the East Harlem gallery and the block party associated with that exhibit. His exhibit highlighted liberation and anti-colonial themes as they relate to Boricua and LatinX populations.
As part of the exhibit, Miguel created a remarkable bronze replica of the famous ancient statue of the Taino cemi spirit Boinayel with a cohoba platter on its head housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Miguel planned for this bronze replica to be ceremonially carried out of the gallery into the street during the Saturday block party in a symbolic act that would bring out this object which is normally housed behind glass in a museum and down to street level where the people exist.
He requested that I perform a special blessing ceremony that would elicit the presence of our ancient Taino ancestors at the event. I was accompanied in my work during the event by behike Tilou (Li'l Wolf) "Urban Divers" and behike trainee Max Guazabara. both from New York City.
I was also accompanied by the kasike of Yukayeke Guainia and president of the UNITED CONFEDERATION OF TAINO PEOPLE, Roberto Mukaro Borrero who delivered a brief message to the crowd and shared his famous song Daka Naboria Atabeira.
On Friday evening right after I arrived in New York City I had the honor of meeting the extraordinary artist Miguel Luciano at the Galeria Del Barrio art gallery in East Harlem, New York City. It was an incredible thrill to be introduced to the remarkable sculpture he created, a perfect replica in bronze of the famous wooden cemi statue of Boinayel with a cohoba platter on its head. The original statue is part of the Taino collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Miguel is just now completing a three-year residency and who is sponsoring his multi-week exhibit CEMI LIBRE at the Galeria Del Barrio. I am so humbled by this experience.