Studio Lenca 

Los Historiantes 2019

‘Historiante’ is a portmanteau of the Spanish words ‘historia’ and ‘estudiante’ meaning history student.‘Los Historiantes’ are the Salvadoran tellers of a folkloric tale based on the Christians and Moors. In El Salvador ‘Los Hisoriantes’ dance ‘La Historia’ collectively with their bodies during September dedicated to La Santa Cruz de Roma.
This disrupts the notion that the storage of history is disembodied and stagnant.As an artist I relate to the position of embodied storyteller whilst coexisting in a position of learning. By posing as a Historiante I reflect on my displacement from El Salvador during the country’s civil war whilst also rewriting a new narrative of what it means to be Salvadoran.This embodied practice sees me as both the custodian of El Salvador’s history and disruptor of dominant public discourse of Salvadoran people.

My recent photographic performance work ‘Los Historiantes’(2019) looks at the folkloric dancers of El Salvador. This is an ongoing project in which I create portraits of myself dressed as a Historiante. Los Historiantes are a result of traditions brought over by the Iberian conquistadors during the colonisation of the Americas mixed with pre-Columbian beliefs. The Historiantes offer me an embodied archive of trauma that is still relevant today. When building these costumes, the collection of materials becomes difficult and I often need to borrow from different cultures with similar histories, this process becomes the performance. The inability to access authentic materials for the costumes highlights my distance from the place I was born in as well as my lack of connection with Salvadoran culture due to being uprooted by war. I believe the trajectory Salvadoran people and many Central American nations have taken stem back to ancient histories, specifically the colonisation of the Americas by European colonisers. This postcolonial intergenerational trauma is present to this day and can be seen in public discourse of Latinx communities, especially in the U.S.
El Salvador - England