Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles

Photo of Nicolás by Wadi Céspedes Raful / Courtesy of Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles

Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively through creative experiences that he unfolds within the quotidian. He has exhibited or performed at Madrid Abierto/ARCO, The IX Havana Biennial, PERFORMA 05/07, IDENSITAT, Prague Quadrennial, Pontevedra Biennial, Call/Walks, Queens Museum, MoMA, Printed Matter, P.S. 122, Hemispheric Institute of Performance Art and Politics, Princeton University, Anthology Film Archives, El Museo del Barrio, Center for Book Arts, Longwood Art Gallery/BCA, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Franklin Furnace, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Nicolás has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the performance art field. Residencies attended include P.S. 1/MoMA, Yaddo and MacDowell. Nicolás holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where he studied with Coco Fusco; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Born in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 2011 he was baptized as a Bronxite; a citizen of the Bronx.

Since 2006, he has pursued trainings with key people in the healing, somatic movement, and writing fields. Nicolás is the founding director of The Interior Beauty Salon, a space working at the intersection of creativity and healing.

Learn more and follow The Interior Beauty Salon on Instagram.

Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful In Bed with the Tropicals, 2015, inaction Photo: Frances Pollitt / Courtesy of Nicolás Dumit Estévez In Bed with the Tropicals consisted of a five-hour stopover by a sleeping subject in Wave Hill’s conservatory, NY. This dormant being rested uninterruptedly, side by side with the vast array of orchids, lichens, air plants and ferns that make up the lush greenhouse’s collection. In this exercise, which relied on inaction, the cessation of the most visible movements on behalf of the sleeper were meant to put him on a par with the imperceptible activity generated by the plant world around him. In Bed with the Tropicals was meant to conjure images of hibernation, catalepsy, the Dormition of the Virgin, and the continuous interplay between life and death. It also signaled the urgent call for what deep ecology activist Joanna Macy refers to as the “greening of the self” or the eco-self; an awareness for one’s inextricable interdependence with all living beings irrespective of the lesser status “humans” have assigned to them.
Rhina Valentin and Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful with Michael Max Knobbe and Angel Rodríguez
The Metropolitan Portal, 2020, art in everyday life
Photo: Argenis Apolinario / Courtesy of Nicolás Dumit Estévez
Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo invites Rhina Valentín, who in turn invites Master Percussionist Angel Rodríguez to represent her spiritual guide, and BronxNet Executive Director, Michael Max Knobbe to represent her connection to community. They step into Rhina’s everyday portal through the shopping district of Parkchester, reminiscent of the walk she would take to get to the train when she lived there with her Mother—through improvisational ritual choreography that launches near the fountain of Parkchester and processes through Metropolitan Avenue. Mantras, colors, and drum beats are all part of the portal through which Rhina skillfully takes the group: a magical field. She eventually leads all involved out into the day-to-day buzz of the City to enjoy the echo of any transformations experienced during the action. This action is part of Performing the Bronx. Performing the Bronx is an expansion of Nicolás’s on-going efforts to generate work with and within different communities in the Bronx. It is also representative of his interest in recovering, reclaiming and remembering histories of the area’s inhabitants that run the risk of being effaced by time, lost in the midst of neighborhoods in flux, or dismissed by dominant discourses that often position themselves at the center of the conversation. With Performing the Bronx Nicolás continues contributing to the archives of the place he calls home.

 

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