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"I’m the American,

born of beats and blood,

the concert of the sun unplugged."

                                           (Saul Williams)

In an ongoing collaborative process of conversation, research, and creative exploration, LITVAK Dance company members are being rendered in garments and accessories representative of their heritage(s).  

 

The so-far completed portraits (featured above) are Maria Jose “Majo” Castillo and Beverly Johnson.  Majo, is from a small town in Veracruz, Mexico.  She is a mestiza, of indigenous (Aztec / Totonac) and Spanish descent. Beverly is Japanese-African American.  She does not know precisely where her ancestry is rooted in the vast continent of Africa, so the African elements depicted are from several tribes and regions.   

 

The portraits of each individual, displayed as a triptych, emphasizes different aspects of their root cultures, aesthetically reinterpreting and juxtaposing the various elements of dress.

 

The project is partly inspired by the dynamic fashion sense of various world cultures.  It celebrates the vibrancy and vitality, that in many ways our contemporary day-to-day American dress lacks.  

 

On another level, the series raises many questions about our personal histories.  In this process, much has been revealed about how little the subjects know about their ancestral pasts.

 

Taken as a whole, a sense of human kindredness is evoked. This aspect of humanity begs to be recognized in our current crisis of national identity.  These portraits become regal American archetypes or spiritual totems.  They expose an expression or aspiration toward divinity while adorning the ordinary beauty of the body.