African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth


In this example from the multimedia exhibit, African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth, history survives through dance.

For the indigenous of La Costa Chica— the Amuzgo, the Mixteco, the Zapoteco— society is something to be remembered, revered, and ridiculed. No one is beyond scrutiny, not the dead and certainly not the living. In la Danza de los Vaqueros (the Dance of the Cowboys) la Minga wears a white female mask. As usual, the Minga plays a central comedic role. He is a masked man dressed as a European woman; hiking his skirt up he chases children giggling into the borders of the performance space. When not scaring away the young, he concentrates on his more traditional prey: he chases the African man, the overseer-cowboy behind the black mask.

This, laugh the indigenous, reflects the manner in which the European plantation wives persisted in sexually assaulting the Africans who oversaw indigenous field labor. Lined up in work gangs, the indigenous are represented by matching black suits and pink masks. They step in sync with one another within the spaces leftopen to them by the black cowboy who deftly eludes the plantation owner’s lascivious wife.

digitized 8mm film
Camera, edit, sound recording, programming and mix: Marco Villalobos
Additional camera by Ayana V. Jackson


African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth 76 page exhibition catalog available for review on our Shop page. 

Produced by VillalobosJackson Co., with generous support from the communities of la Costa Chica (Mexico) and the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.