Egg of Phoenix Performance Genoa, 12 October 2018 of the Cultures of the World
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 the 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 "New World" and "discovery" with the thirst for possession of new resources, of gold and of natural resources.
Lucia wore a mask that she made using the pages of the school books related to the discovery of America and that wants to underline how it covers and prevents the wearer's view. The way it is craft reminds to something like waste paper and the shape of a flag. This mask represents for Lucia the distortion of information by the scholastic system that obscures knowledge rather than illuminating it.
Before even knowing each other, AJ Goldman and Lucia Palmero were both conducting their own research on the figure of Christopher Columbus respectively from Santa Fe in New Mexico USA and from Ventimiglia, Italy. When a mutual friend, having come to know their common research focus, put them in touch, they spent more than a year deepening and exchanging documentation by communicating virtually.
When it was presented to them the opportunity to share their research at the Museum of World Cultures in Genoa on October 12th, they decided that only at the time of the performance, they would have celebrated their meeting in a special way, by finally looking into their eyes for the first time.
For this reason, for the five days prior to the performance, despite AJ Goldman had arrived in Italy to prepare the event in advance, they both wore glasses to avoid looking at each other’s face and eyes.
AJ first walks into the Columbian Hall and sees the statue of the young Columbus, an idolized monument without flaws. He sits to appear 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.
His Indigenous character displays resiliency, filling the atmosphere with a higher powerful and stronger energy that contrasts with the portrait of a young and innocent Columbus. He chooses to sit in front of Columbus to display this comparison.
Around him, 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 but shown as a fantasized possession.