Reflejo is a performance art installation that retells the story of colonization of Ecuadorian indigenous bodies through the manipulation of Inca cosmovision. The piece is a physical journey into the recreation of an Ecuadorian catholic church altar where sunlight or INTI, the Incan God Sun, was captured through the use of mirror reflections. Along the journey, the performer uses movement, lights, storytelling, body painting and the physical stripping off of indigenous clothes to explore the ways in which she has been stripped of her culture and left vulnerably covered in white paint- a symbolism of internalized colonization and erasure of indigeneity.
Created and Performed by Salomé Egas
with Julian Velasco (Sound Design)
Historically, Catholic Churches in Ecuador, now places of worship for many indigenous and mestizo peoples, were initially place of captivity and erasure. Upon arrival and destruction of Inca settlements, Spanish catholic priests built massive churches and decorated its altars with mirrors to reflect sunlight into its insides. The aim was to, first, trick indigenous people into believing that one of their heighest deities, Inti (God Sun), inhabited the church, and then, to convert Indigenous people’s into Catholicism through the erasure and of their indigenous cosmovision.
In the piece, as the performer moves slowly into the installation, she will be removing traditional Ecuadorian Indigenous clothes until discovering her body as a canvas, that once inside the altar, is painted white as a metaphor for colonization. However as the performer realizes that she has been following just a reflection of what she believed was her God, it is her chance to decide whether to finish her journey inside the altar surrounded in the colonizer’s reflections or leave the imposed culture in the search for her own light.