In La Nave, Colombian artist and first-time filmmaker Carlos Maria Romero (aka Atabey Mamasita) translates the meaning and spirit of Carnival de Barranquilla during a year in which gatherings were forbidden. Through clandestinely filmed performances with members of many different communities—indigenous, trans, queer, rural, Afro-Colombian and radical outsiders among them—Maria Romero recreates northern Colombia’s largest cultural event as an essayistic performance film, demonstrating how Carnival is a lifeblood to its many diverse participants.
This screening will be accompanied with an in person conversation with Carlos Maria Romero (La Nave) and will take place at The Maltings in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Maria Romero’s extensive artistic practice incorporates many different forms, stretching across performance, pedagogy and community-building. Combining these elements with embedded knowledge and networks as a native of Barranquilla, the filmmaker transmits a feeling to the viewer of being led through a series of private encounters with the featured performers, musicians and citizens (a perspective which would otherwise be closed to us). In effect, this series of encounters establishes a filmic form that mirrors a parade or procession—one of the central components of Carnival—through our short interactions with participants/performers, who are then displaced by the next subsequent person to step in front of the camera.
But La Nave is not just a formal mirror to the Carnival de Barranquilla; the film beautifully captures the sensorial phenomena imparted by its participants. It is alive with pleasure, sensuality, spirituality, humour, spontaneity; it simultaneously upholds the weight and gravity of tradition whilst leaving space for the expansiveness of new perspectives to supplant what came before.
In Spanish, “la nave” means vessel, such as a ship. In contemporary Colombian slang, the term takes on a futuristic meaning, such as referring to technological devices and their ability to “shift space”. Within the imaginations of Barranquillerx, the Carnival can simultaneously expand forward and backward in time, imagining new futures and reinventing suppressed pasts. As Maria Romero puts it: “The film’s vessel is one full of lucid and fearless people making an upside down world, in which all (historically oppressed) worlds can and have a right to exist. Aboard La Nave, directioning is a collective, decentralizing, eternal dance ever expanding its reach and partakers.” —Herb Shellenberger
Carlos Maria Romero aka Atabey Mamasita (1979, Colombia) is based between Colombia, United Kingdom and Germany. Maria Romero is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in dance and live art, working in the fields of performing and visual arts, heritage and architectural activism, pedagogy and curating. Maria Romero’s performances, art works, contributions and co-creations have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (Bogotá); La Poderosa (Hiroshima), Espai Erre (Barcelona); Opera House Tokyo; Uferstudios Berlin; Il faut brûler pour briller (Paris), and in London at Vogue Fabrics, Sadler’s Wells, The Tanks/TATE, The Serpentine Gallery, among others. Most recent projects include the performance series Muy Serio presented since 2018 in Bogotá, Barcelona, Margate and most recently at Stretch Festival in Berlin, Royal Academy of Arts and Selfridges State Of the Arts Programme in London, and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.
La Nave (2021)