EGG OF PHOENIX
Egg of Phoenix
October 12, 2018
Museum of the Cultures of the World
A MEETING BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
TWO HUMAN BEINGS WHO LOOK INTO EACH OTHER'S EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME.
On October 12, 2018, on the occasion of what is remembered as the day of the discovery of America and in the United States is celebrated as Columbus Day, AJ Goldman, a Native American artist, and Lucia Palmero, an Italian performer, gave life to an artistic action aimed to celebrate a new way of establishing a human contact and a bridge between two worlds.
The performance develops around the need to make visible the mask that for centuries has been depriving the Native Americans of their identity and which still today, through history schoolbooks, distorts the historical truths about the character of Columbus, giving a Euro-centrist perspective of things.
In this sense, AJ Goldman and Lucia Palmero interpreted their perception of the "mask" from a Native American and an Italian point of view.
During the performance, AJ wore a golden mask of Italian origins to symbolize the close correlation in the collective imagination between the idea of a "New World" and "Discovery" with the thirst for possession of new resources, of gold and natural resources.
Lucia wore a mask that she made using the pages of the schoolbooks related to the discovery of America, and she wants to underline how it covers and prevents the wearer's view. "The way it is framed reminds me of something like waste paper and the shape of a flag." For Lucia, this mask represents the distortion of information by the scholastic system that obscures knowledge rather than illuminates it.
Before even knowing each other, AJ Goldman and Lucia Palmero were researching the figure of Christopher Columbus, respectively, from Santa Fe in New Mexico, USA, and Ventimiglia, Italy.
When a mutual friend came to know their common research focus and put them in touch, they spent more than a year deepening and exchanging documentation by communicating virtually.
They were presented with the opportunity to share their research at the Museum of World Cultures in Genoa on October 12, and they decided that only at the time of the performance would they uniquely celebrate their meeting by finally looking into their eyes for the first time.
For this reason, for the five days before the performance, despite AJ Goldman having arrived in Italy to prepare for the event in advance, they both wore glasses to avoid looking at each other's faces and eyes.
AJ first walks into the Columbian Hall and sees the statue of the young Columbus, an idolized monument without flaws.
He sits proudly in front of the statue of the young Columbus, giving life to a living statue of an Indigenous Man with ragged clothes and a gold face because greed has taken over men's eyes.
Ask shows resiliency, filling the atmosphere with a more robust and vital energy that contrasts with the portrait of a young and innocent Columbus in a stance to depict the opposite of his idolatry…the truth.
Around him, always in the Colombian Hall of the Castle of Albertis, he is surrounded by photos of Native Americans taken by him where they, too, are portrayed wearing a mask.
Lucia stands in front of an antique mirror in the Sala Turca. In this sumptuous setting, the Captain of Albertis, builder of the Castle, sailor Captain, and great admirer of Columbus, hangs his travel and colonial trophies.
When visitors approach her, she establishes the first contact. Then she invites them to stand with her in front of a mirror, contemplating themselves as part of a sumptuous colonial setting, blending with the context, blending their reflection with hers wearing a mask.
At the sound of a gong in the heart of the Castle, AJ stands with dignity and turns to face the statue to nod his head as a gesture of "we are still here." Lucia walks back towards him until they gather in the center of the Castle. Once there, they take off their masks and discover their faces. AJ and Lucia look at each other in the eyes for the first time. They shake hands as a sign of covenant and union.