Miami Performance International Festival: Signs of What's to Come

Categories: Art, Culture, Stage
Performan Art Festival
Gabriella Joa Sanchez

See Miami Performance International Festival: Performance Art, No Unitard Required.

When you hear the words "performance art," the first thing that comes to mind is a bunch of naked weirdoes splattered in paint chanting obscurities and eating garbage. Or perhaps the term is so broad that it brings nothing to mind at all.

The reality of performance art in Miami lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe there's painting, maybe there's nudity -- and maybe there's neither -- but there's always a reason.

That's what we discovered Saturday, when artists presented their works in the Design District as part of a sneak preview for the first ever Miami Performance International Festival, which opens July 26 and runs until the 29.

Jennifer Suarez, One Story for One Song.jpg
Cristy Almaida
Jennifer Suarez performs One Story for One Song
Cathartic pieces ranged from improvised musical productions to tomato sauce-covered brides as onlookers were forced to open their minds to what they saw, instead of being spoon-fed commercial concepts of art as existing solely for aesthetic pleasure. (This was especially refreshing during a Second Saturday Art Walk that relied so heavily on Pop art.)

Ismael Ogando, Dominican Shower.jpg
Cristy Almaida
Ismael Ogando performs Dominican Shower
"It's something that has a very free voice. People are not in it for money; they're in it because they really feel like they want to say something that sometimes cannot be said ... an action that really says a lot," Charo Oquet, founding director of the festival, said of performance art.

In the midst of a curious crowd, Belaxis Buil walks around arms raised rigidly in air singing "This land is your land, this land is my land...." Her face is covered in an American flag print burka and wrap while her stomach is exposed, the only thing on it are the words "kill me." She continues to sing the Guthrie anthem forcefully as she strips herself of the star-spangled cloth and crawls on the floor and into a cage.

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Christine Senke
Christine Senke

It was my first experience with performance art in Miami held in an official setting and was extremely fulfilling in every sense possible. Kudos to the performers and organizers!

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