Jaque Fragua—Performance

JAQUE FRAGUA—Performance

Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Duration: June 1 – October 13, 2019

Soul Center for the Arts (within Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce)


The concept is inspired by traditional actions as a form of resistance. Sustainability is at the core of our traditions as Native Americans. I am interested in the raw materials available in the natural environment, such as dirt, clay, and minerals and how they connect cultures worldwide through their various uses.

Personally, I understood the importance of raw materials from an early age. For example, my family and I used clay for various purposes, to create pottery, roofing, and plaster. The ladder, I would like to explore in this performance.

Plaster is the protective enamel for most architectural structures in the Southwest. It is very durable and lasts a few seasons before needing to apply another coat. This traditional act was usually lead by the women in the tribe and provided a sense of shared experience that encouraged sisterhood within the tribe. In modern times, both men and women share the experience, or families hire an outside construction company to plaster the homes with concrete or with a synthetic version of plaster, which can be detrimental to the integrity of the structure itself. This tension of tradition devolving, due to modernization and assimilation, is where I seek to explore.

I’m interested in the colonial architectural structures that exist. I seek to create dialogue around the purpose of such structures. What is its history, it’s material, or why is it still standing? I intend to engage such ideas through a performance at the stairs of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce.

I will create a clay plaster on-site at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, mixing the raw materials in a wheelbarrow. My hope is to then pour, shape, float, and handle the plaster on top of the stairs of the museum. I will cover as much of the original structure as possible, masking the material underneath the plaster and manipulating the space via this organic material. Once the plaster is utilized completely, this will be the end of the performance. The plaster will set in several hours and cure over a few days. The plaster will eventually disintegrate over time, leaving the stairs undamaged and back to the original condition.

This act of using raw materials to create a sense of disbelief, although ephemeral, allows the observer to imagine a different way of living, a peek into an indigenous sensibility and practice, that is continuing to change and expand as we speak. My concern is how do we resist actively through these acts of Indigeneity and tradition, while we exist in a modern reality?

“Solution to the representation of contemporary Indigenous art may not be found in traditional art space. The established venues have foundations in elitism and I believe the future of Indigenous art is dependent on reconstructing ‘the museum’ on accessible digital platforms.”

The exhibition themes will be explored through the utilization of Totem Talks. Totem Talks is a contemporary interactive learning concept that will make the exhibition more introspective and personal for visitors of all ages. Totem Talks will act as a mini-project series for each exhibition of the partnership. Schools or large groups of visitors will be asked to document their answers, feelings, and emotions onto the “totems” according to the question that is presented on the specific totem, such as “What does it mean to be indigenous?” or “What does sacred mean to you”?

Support for this exhibition and performance was provided by The Kalliopeia Foundation Blu Logistics, The Jaques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Hancock Family Trust, and The Endeavor Foundation. Operational support was also provided by U.S. Consular Agency of Genova and the Commune di Genova, and Castello D’Albertis.