Together, we imagine Puerto Rico

Antonio Ramos has been invited to the Camargo Art Residency in Cassis, France to continue research and development for his current project: "El Pueblo de los Olvidados." The opportunity to invite Awilda Rodríguez Lora for collaboration and creation in a space that is physically removed from the Caribbean and the US provides a space like no other to reflect and deepen in what it means to create work after a traumatic experience. These two Puerto Ricans not only share the experience of being away from their homeland during the passing of Hurricane Irma and Maria, but they also share a special bond since they also had traumatic experiences during their childhood on the island. Awilda Rodríguez Lora is also an independent artist who works in the pushing of boundaries to challenge Western society's gaze on Black Caribbean women. This work emerges from her need to understand her body and the power that comes from loving oneself as we are. Antonio´s work challenges these notions of beauty in the dancer and as well as the dance. Supporting them so they are able to work together in a location that will foster creativity and healing is an opportunity to not only nourish their personal and creative practices, but more importantly to create new dances that celebrate and challenge their identity as Puerto Ricans of the diaspora.

"El Pueblo de los Olvidados" (The Village of the Forgotten) is a dance-theater performance in the genre of science-fiction, focusing on Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria and the connection to its people. The process of creation of movement also serves as a healing process, with dance serving as movement therapy for PTSD. Through this creation, Antonio and Awilda are able to tell queer Puerto Ricans stories and become inspired by it. Particularly for Antonio, these stories need to be felt through Awilda’s personal connections and experience.
The funds raised would cover Awilda's travel, per diem, as well as honorarium. As important as it is towards Antonio’s work, it is also important for Awilda’s creative practices so she may explore her craft outside of the painful environment of trauma. It is in the hope that Awilda will relax into the creation and feel taken care of in the process.

Through "El Pueblo de los Olvidados," Antonio’s goal is to shift the perspective of dance from an entertainment aspect to a position of healing, particularly towards PTSD. The project is on the mission of letting the audiences know the stories of Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria is still present and we need to continue the conversation. There are amazing Puerto Rican artists, hidden gems that have not been seen and with current conditions may never get the chance. It is up to Antonio and Awilda to shed light on these issues and get people listening.
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Antonio Trinidad
Brooklyn, NY

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