LIKE BROTHERS AND SISTERS
curated by Nicolas Dumit Estevez
March 3, 2011
Social Hall, Union Theological Seminary
Broadway at 121st Street
New York City
Like Brothers and Sisters brings artists of Haitian and of Dominican descent who are living in the United States to perform side by side at the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. This performance program seeks to allow the plurality of these artists' voices, bodies and stories to push their audiences to look at the Haitian-Dominican crucible, not only from afar and abroad, but from new and unexpected perspectives.
"Discovered" by the Spanish conquistadores in 1492, the Caribbean island of Quisqueya or Hispaniola was eventually divided into Spanish and French colonies. As such, the countries that developed out of this geographic severing came to experience histories that would bring them face-to-face in moments of war, genocide, national unification or separation, natural disasters, health crises, and migratory processes. Hence the physical boundary, la frontera, the frontier, that divides what are now the Haitian and the Dominican Republics is a threshold that, while attempting to define two nations, allows Dominican-ness and Haitian-ness to become malleable categories.
Today, the Haitian-Dominican border remains a long umbilical cord reminding the two siblings of a common origin, a porous divisor that is constantly permeated by love, violence, corruption, death and hope. The offspring of European colonization of the so-called New World and recurring United States military involvement and territorial occupation, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, despite their corporeal proximity, remain to this day two politically polarized entities sharing one single island. The time has never been better for a dialogue between the two neighbors, whether in French, Creole, Spanish, Spanglish or Dominicanish. The stage is ready.