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We are Region: South American art series aims to unite the continents

Southern spirit: Performance artists Clovis Horizon will dress as ancient spirits called the Clovis as part of their show in the free Latin American art series “Region(es),” in Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park on Aug. 3, 7, and 8.
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Talk about Southern charm!

A free, five-day festival of Latin American performance artists will come to Bushwick on Aug. 3. “Region(es)” will bring 16 performers from South America to the northern Brooklyn nabe in the hope of connecting the locals with their Latin roots, said its organizer.

“Sixty-one percent of the population in Bushwick self-identifies as Latin American, Latinx, or claims to have some roots in Latin America,” said Juan Pablo Siles. “I want there to be a dialogue between a large portion of the Bushwick community and these artists.”

Siles, who moved here from his native Bolivia in 2010, lived in Bushwick for two years and fell in love with the area because it reminded him of home.

Now that Bushwick is rapidly gentrifying, Siles wants his performance series to bolster the area’s Latin culture. He also hopes to go beyond people’s expectations for South American music, showcasing the region’s modern art forms.

“We love our traditions and our folk dances, but I think while those things are important we also need to acknowledge that we have contemporary ideas that are on par with our North American and European counterpar­ts,” he said.

The crowd-funded festival will be open to everyone, said Siles, with shows taking place in welcoming locations and community gathering spots, including popular green space Maria Hernandez Park.

“We’re not going to have barriers or anything,” he said. “I want people to walk around and be surprised that there’s a performance happening in the park.”

The festival will kick off there with “Clovis Horizon,” an enigmatic dance and music performance in which four artists embody mythical beings known as the Clovis.

The Clovis people were an ancient hunter-gatherer society that roamed the Americas, but the performers have reimagined them as cosmic beings that worship and feed off the sun.

Argentine dancer Cecilia Lisa Eliceche and Brazilian artist Leandro Nerefu created the performance, and will channel the ancient spirits through colorful costumes and unusual interactions with the audience, according to Eliceche.

“We invite the guests to come share the Clovis culture with us,” she said. “It’s a cultural exchange.”

The ritual performance aims to rekindle the ancient bond that spans North and South America, and move the relationships of the different countries towards a better place, according to Nerefu.

“We want rethink this pan-American dream from south to north,” he said. “So that we can be a continent of many people and many nations and that this relationship does not have to be on the grounds of violence and plunder.”

The five-day fest will feature a selection of traditional and modern South American art forms, including music, theater, a blend of yoga and Reggaeton music called “Yoggaton,” and a special celebration of Bolivian independence day on Aug. 6, with events at the Park, at the nearby Starr Bar, and at the Bushwick Market at 49 Wyckoff Ave.

“Clovis Horizon” for region(es) at Maria Hernandez Park (Knickerbocker Avenue and Starr Street in Bushwick, www.regiones.org). Aug. 3 at 2:30 p.m.; Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.; and Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m. Free. Other events Aug. 3–8 at various times. Free.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 11:33 am, July 29, 2019
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