The testourmonials Project
Restoring the Heart of Ní’Tiñao is a traveling archive that refutes eurocolonial claims of native Caribbean subdivision and extinction. It traverses borders to inspire international documentation and story-sharing of residents gardening rich cultures of low-income communities, ensuring our stories are no longer exploited and capitalized. This exhibit was installed for display in The Loisaida Center, Arts East NY, and El Museo De Los Sures.
My path forward to preserving and globally glorifying Indigenous Afro-diasporic heritage is rooted in The Loisaida Center’s resources and unending support. I contacted them during the summer of 2016 and requested an Artist Residency. A six month residency from October 2017 to April 2018 cultivated this visual art series, relaying emotional and analytical responses to my findings. I am conducting interviews from contemporary historians, practitioners of indigenous Afro-Caribbean Heritage, and descendants disconnected from ancestral Caribbean culture. The project aims to manifest from the researched and archived history, herstory, principles, spiritual practices, and core values of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, an information and resource hub for current and future generations.
This mission of the project is to ensure that indigenous Caribbean and African heritage are preserved and accessible so future generations may grow up knowing where they come from. This will generate a deep understanding of where they are supposed to go and who they are supposed to be. If we do not know where we are from, how are we to know where we are supposed to go and who we are supposed to be?
Body is product of ancestors’ relationships with land, culture, preservation, and resistance. Body connected to ancestors in ways obvious only to we who critically look back in order to triumph forward. Body tells Mystory, Ourstory, and Hirstory through writing, speaking, movement, gestures, tension, and physical features.
MISSION: The Testourmonials Project provides platforms for marginalized artists, artisans, activists, and organizers to present information, workshops, actions, and ongoing projects that combat negative effects of gentrification and racist/classist/culturally-negligent New York City planning.
CAUSE: With intent to bolster self-empowerment and inherent validity Be, TTP plans, curates, and hosts performances, exhibitions, conversations, and creative workshops. TTP’s events are geared to engage attendant discussion encompassing action-oriented approaches that pursue community-driven conservation. TTP storytells happenings of diverse cultures and revolutionary strategies that gardened New York City’s most desirably gentrified neighborhoods. TTP bridges arts/cultural organizations across New York City, USA, and abroad to cross-pollinate ideas, strategies, solutions, promotion, resources, and support.
EFFECT: My investigative analysis of ethical historiographic methods inspired my current fieldwork (January to April 2019) traversing the central coast of Brasil; emboldening TTP’s objective to incorporate and uncover Afro-Brasilian cultural and genetic exchanges that expound my Afro-Caribbean anthropology. Rather than commence via books, I am talking with people and humbly experiencing their culture first hand. As commissioned for their May to August 2019 artist residency, I will curate programming and exhibition with Bronx Arts Factory. I will present new visual art and storytell experiences excerpted from interviews. Those interviewed are historians, anthropologists, genetic scientists, cultural organization staff, and working class residents from New York City, Borikén (Puerto Rico), Nashville Tennessee, and Belo Horizonte Minas Gerais.
“The audience is the focal point of this “solo” presented by Anthony Rosado. Through participatory activities and self-recognition, performance will return to its healing capabilities. If art is to be a reflection of society, then join me as I actively engage attendants of this series at Judson Church in a performance that demands awareness of one’s connection to New York City, communities experiencing gentrification, apathy, action, and accountability. Testourmonials of an ExploiNation.