Sydney Rahimtoola | I Forgot How to Speak Spanish


15 september – 27 oktober 2018
Het meest in het oog springende werk in de tentoonstelling van het eindexamenwerk van de studenten aan de fotografie-afdeling van de KABK was naar ons idee het videowerk van de Amerikaanse foto- en videograaf Sydney Rahimtoola. In haar video I Forgot How to Speak Spanish word je meegenomen naar Junction Boulevard in Queens, New York, dat het decor vormt voor een surreële tocht langs de bouwstenen van haar identiteit. De afwisseling tussen een symboliek die tegen het occulte aan schurkt, en een extravagante directheid, zorgen voor een intrigerende en tegelijkertijd verontrustende videocollage.

Rahimtoola in haar eigen woorden:

Junction Boulevard is a neighbourhood in Queens, New York consisting of locals and migrants from different Latin countries. Many migrants have come namely from the island nation of the Dominican Republic. It is a place where several mothers run the dynamics, while men lay around with their Brugal bottles, listening to music from the island and playing dominos. Almost everyone talks fondly about “back in the day.” Under Trump’s administration and new immigration policies, the population here has become more vulnerable, under a gaze that subjects them to stereotype.

La Babosa, otherwise known as “Cry Baby,” is a second generation Dominican-American confronted with anxieties about her own identity. Anxieties relevant for many second-generation immigrant descendants in cross-cultural experiences like in the U.S.

Living in Trump’s America, La Babosa questions the meaning of “home.” Thus, the following becomes a series of improvised retrospects in La Babosa’s domestic space and ritual. What does home mean when the U.S. paints a generalised, clichéd impression of communities like Junction Boulevard? What happens when La Babosa equivalently stereotypes a community which has nurtured and helped mould her identity?


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