MASECA RUNWAY (2021)
Maseca Runway is a modular sculptural installation for performance. Its structure is composed of 100 Maseca, corn flour bags and planks of plywood, about 24 feet in length. Bags of Maseca serve as the foundation that host and hold up a moment of queer, brown expression. The runway itself symbolizes a bridge between cultural heritage, perhaps even globalized and homogenized, and an evolved, queered manifestation of that heritage. The performing body is itself a bridge between the past and the future.
In its conception, Maseca Runway was set to exist as a platform for the celebration of queer brown excellence. In its first iteration or use (May 17, 2021), the runway doubled as an altar - a space to grieve, mourn and commemorate the recent loss of my grandmother. An altar operates as bridge between us and our ancestors, a site for connection between the living and the dead.
Ultimately, Maseca Runway transfigured into an event, a showcase of a collection of works and performative gestures dedicated to my grandmother, mother and the matriarchs of my family. Beginning with a ceremonial lighting of copal and frankincense, the event and its performative elements worked to conjure and materialize the voices of these women. In inviting an intimate audience to witness my queer expression of mourning, I wanted to grant these witnesses permission to mourn their own losses.
Works include: a reading of "Celeste Manifesto" (2021) / a lip-sync to "Nunca Es Suficiente" by Los Ángeles Azules, Natalia Lafourcade / a "channeling" of my mother's pageant queen, exit speech on tape,"Reina Saliente" (1988) / a reading of "Mother's Crown" (2021) / a film essay made in El Salvador and titled "Al Que Di Mi Amor" (2021) / a lip-sync to "Dreaming of You" by Selena Quintanilla.
Celeste Manifesto (2021)
She is the rage that saved my life.
She is the place where I go to lay my tears.
Don’t be mistaken when you see us whirl together -
She eventually pushes me through
the shiny, black curtains of our stage.
Her lashes flutter, her nails flail, and her red lips shapeshift
Just to try to get you to gaze through the depths
That I left open for you.
She carries with her
Some of my most precious pains -
Yes, I entrusted them to her,
mostly because I find their weight too unbearable at times.
She is my heart, ignited.
She is the place where my fears burn into celebration -
A sensuality unlocked by a key I was born with.
I am the flesh that grounds her.
I paint her carefully, so you understand her details.
I cast satin over her spirit, so you can feel her.
I craft the world around her, so she has all the room to play.
We share an unshatterable reflection -
A perpetual whisper in each other’s left ear.
Only she knows my mother the way I do,
She is my apostle and I, her charmer.
Mother's Crown (2021)
My mother, she wore a crown
And she wore it well.
It rested upon her head,
dazzling - full of grace and poise, anointed.
Her people celebrated her,
Saw in her an image of everything beautiful about Home.
But a crown never just appears like an apparition.
It is handed down, passed over -
It’s magic transfused to the next.
My mother’s crown surely came from her mother,
MARIA DE LOS ANGELES GUZMAN.
I know this to be true because it is blood,
That carries the makings of a true queen.
It is my grandmother’s generosity that sparked this journey,
My crown is my mother’s, and her mother’s.
Today, I still feel the way it cradled my temples
and the back of my head.
Days of curiosity drenched in
an unknowing of an expansive futurity.
Today, I understand that we wear this crown together.
"Reina Saliente", mother's pageant exit speech, recorded in in 1988.
"Al Que Di Mi Amor", TRT 17:36, a film essay featuring poems written by my grandparents + narrated by my mother
video documentation of performance on Maseca Runway
photo documentation by Tomm Roeschlein