#ATABEY: A Dominican American cultural platform by Gina Goico and Imán Muñiz.
As women, we understand the contradictions we embody every day; constant tensions between whore and saint, beautiful and ugly, protection and defiance, life and death. These tensions plague our thoughts and movements, and ultimately define us. Being a woman living in a diaspora brings another layer of contradictions and tensions which we have to manage as we continue to perform while inhabiting a foreign space.
Will we choose the comfort of our homeland but risk poverty? Or will we take a chance in the empire and be exposed to a completely different type of violence in order to earn dollars? Will we choose solitude and longing over pesos and hurricanes?
In our conversations with other immigrants of diverse generations we were moved by our shared reluctance to provide definite answers to these questions. We are neither here nor there. Not one nationality or the other. Neither sluts nor saints. We are the in-betweeners, forever lost at sea between lands, forever living in nostalgia. We are #ATABEY*.
#ATABEY is a cultural proposal that uses social research combined with art production by artist Gina Goico and artist/scholar Imán Muñiz. The goal of #ATABEY is to create new artistic and academic narratives about the lived experiences of women from the Dominican Republic and its diasporas. We aim to create a cultural platform of new meanings, symbols and ideas that will serve to critique, describe, represent and create our needs and desires.
This project was born from both Iman’s and Gina’s understanding that there is a traditional romantic idea of what Dominican culture is and it needs to be questioned in order to start a real decolonization of Dominican bodies, mind and politics. We also understand that it is crucial to recognize US imperialism as a conditional framework in which Dominican culture continues to develop and change alongside other cultural influences that have shaped us after colonization.
#ATABEY is the platform and medium in which our art, activism, writing and theory is captured. #ATABEY has presented their work at various academic conferences and institutions. This past May we held an arts workshop at the Annual Critical Ethnic Studies Association conference at York University in Toronto and gave a lecture at the Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford University on our most recent work.
Currently, various projects are being developed to be showcased in the upcoming months. For instance, we are developing projects in collaboration with various Dominican social justice organizations and initiating an interactive performance to be held on three consecutive Sundays in August in the Bronx, New York as part of Boogie on the Boulevard. Additionally, both Imán’s and Gina’s individual academic undergraduate and graduate theses served as the groundwork for a future book, which is estimated to come out in late 2016.
For more information on #ATABEY e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ginagoico.com to stay tuned!
*Atabey, or Atabeira was known by the Tainos (native peoples of the Caribbean) as the supreme Goddess.
Imán Muñiz is a researcher, artist, writer and activist from the Dominican Republic currently based in California. When #ATABEY started her thesis project was on sexual violence prevention in Santo Domingo and currently she studies the Dominican Economy and Haitian Labor.
Gina Goico is an multidisciplinary Dominican artist and activist currently based in New York. Her work deals with Dominican/Latino identity, culture and the politics behind being perceived as the Other in the United States.