VISUAL ARTIST BASED IN GRONINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
Pitalito Parque Principal (2017)
With the support of Expediciónes Convexas, a curatorial initiative by Alberto Mendoza and Sergio Bedoya, I developed a happening in the main square of Pitalito, a provincial town in the south of Colombia. The project, funded by non-proft foundation Funami, gave 15 artists the change to emerge in Pitalito's culture during 2 weeks. It was a mezmerizing experience for me, which concluded in a peculiar exchange with the local population.
Determined to warm the hearts of the people, I approached the main square that day. Dressed in an aluminium bathingsuit to emphasize my outstanding appearance, I started singing. It was a song that I prepared to introduce myself to the local people.
Translated: "Hello everyone, I'm dutch and I'm a independently operating artist. I'm here to better my life, as it was boring in NL. Overthere it's cold and we don't have a river like Magdalena. Here it's warm and I think that's the best. Listen, I'm talking about love."
You might recognize this subject-matter - it's a traslation of my dutch song Hitte. I performed it on my last days in the Netherlands to explain my departure, and now I clarified my arrival. Transparancy is a high value.
It wouldn't take long or the whole crowd would be singing and dancing with me, I thought. Was I wrong! In stead a circle of staring eyes gathered around me. Without any shame the people looked at my pale legs. Nobody smiled, nobody applaused. When the song ended, I awkwardly waited for a reaction. I asked if they liked it. Silence. "Does anyone wants to say something?" I approached them one by one, offering them the microfone. Turned out they weren't shy at all. Ferm statements were made about the hydro-electric project being realised in the region, about how people interfere in nature without being aware of the consequences. We spoke about the earthquakes in Groningen, where I come from, and about how both of us are forced to flee from our land. Some asked me about the Netherlands, how it looks like and if I could say a few english words. I explained them we speak dutch and that the Netherlands is a very small, cold country. It was a great, strange day. I even earned money and spent in on icecreams (for the kids, of course).
Made by Mariël Smit, maart 2018 all rights reserved