The eight artists presenting their work at the "Here & Now 2019" work-in-process showing on Saturday night had one thing in common, the uniqueness of their respective work. Ivonne Batanero and Adler Gurerrier, Kayla Castellon, Randy De La Cruz, Liony Garcia, Juraj Kojs, Michelle Grant-Murray and Samantha Pazos were the artists who received a commissioned award, production help and studio space for the "Here & Now 2019" program at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood.
Miami Light Project Launched "Here & Now" in 1999. It commissions, and then presents, the work of South Florida-based performance and multi-media artists. At Saturday’s performance, many of the pieces were clearly still in progress, while some seemed complete, ready for the stage. Not that it mattered, as all the works presented were thoughtful, entertaining and engrossing. The evening started before the performance began as photographs of the works were displayed along the walls of the Goldman Warehouse. It gave a tantalizing idea of what was to come.
"Atender, Esperar, Wait" was a collaboration between Batanero and Guerrier, where they had three women sitting on a ubiquitous bench. The women engage in waiting in their own way, One was languish, one patient, and the third restless. At times they interact with each other. Sharing in the deep and sometimes painful act of waiting. The program note reads "…time and space designated by waiting, waiting —hopefully and attentively…" The piece developed a sense of time and of space in its scope of movement and in its point of bringing the women together in a shared act of expectation.
"OMI" was created and choreographed by Michelle Grant- Murray. Water is the center of this piece. Water as ritual. Water as survival. The piece began with Grant-Murray sprinkling water in a bowl filled with flowers. Later, the audience was invited to dip their hands in a bowl of water as a sign of blessing. A video, by Woosler Dleisfort, showed waves crashing onto a shore. The issue of water is of paramount importance in this work which expanded to include three women in colorful costumes and headdresses (by Edwena Hernandez and Dee Dee Dimples). The women brought a sense of spirituality to the piece, as well as showing the practicality of the job of procuring water in many cultures, which is women's work. Grant- Murray's examination was fully developed in its examination of the relationship between the women and their link.
Juraj Kojs is from Slovakia and teaches at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. His piece, "The Home is in the Heart: The House," was pure poetry on the nature of immigration, family and home. He narrated and played the piano as he told the story of his grandmother’s house with accompanying photography by Mariana Kojsova. With each photo, he revealed more of his grandmother and her house, bringing the immigrant experience to the forefront of this piece.
Liony Garcia’s "Corporeal Decorum" brought things closer to home. Inspired by Art Deco and Miami Beach’s Historic Art Deco District, Garcia’s fluid and powerful movements blended well with each respective image. Architecture and dance has a long history with both ballet and modern choreographers combining the two. In Garcia’s work, the movement reflected the architecture and the architecture as the movement.
Many times, the artists commissioned in "Here & Now" continue to evolve these works, and over 30 of the participants have gone on to perform their work in other states and countries. Some of Saturday's works could easily do just that.