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La Cacica, photography and identity

Honta is a Venezuelan artist, dancer, photographer, collagist and social activist. Afro-indigenous identity of our America that she synthesizes in a textile proposal.

My history formed me as a sensitive, strong and radically human being, from La Guaira but since I was 11 years old I live in Caracas. A restless, violent and fighting city, the result of ruptures and continuities of historical moments. In its neighborhoods I lived diverse models of beliefs, ways of organizing for work and community life, struggles for demands and art. Sometimes I think that it has been life itself that has driven me to be an artist and that this is my tool to fulfill my mission, which is nothing more than to transform the world in which we live.

Identity is a concept which is built through our own cultural practices and which we have inherited to a great extent, much of my work deals with the construction of my identity as an Afro-Caribbean woman. One of my creative objectives is to reflect the importance of us, women, to be able to identify ourselves as mothers, companions, workers, warriors and never again as victims.

Since 2016 I have communicatively supported the indigenous cause, especially with the struggle of the Yukpa ethnic group to recover their lands and culture. My work as a photographer in any community is always crossed by the notion of exchange, my work is not only photography but social organization and training to generate economic outlets that can be created together.

If anything has marked me and has led me to be an artist, it has been the search for my own identity; before it was my identity as a daughter and now it has been my identity as a human being and as an Afro-Caribbean woman, with sisters and companions who have been murdered, mistreated, imprisoned and evicted from their lands, sisters and brothers who are workers and indigenous people who also seek to understand and make their own stories heard.

My artwork seeks to explore and bring out my afro-indigenous roots both through the recording and creation of images, as well as in the movement of the body.

These reflections invite us to think of a community psychology open to the recognition of different practices, experiences and knowledge in the territories.

Building identity through image

I see the image as one of the fundamental means of constructing realities and identities in society. Today, I see it as a re-presentation of reality that uses moments, symbols and signs that are culturally generated and as such are powerful tools of social transformation.

The dancing and dancing sling

I was 11 years old when my aunt created a dance group in La Guiara, Las Tunitas called “Unicornio” with only 8 girls and we were all cousins, my aunt was a woman who was fond of dance and without becoming a professional she felt the dance in her veins and the need to create something different in our community, That’s how I started dancing music like Joropo, drums, traditional dance and after our first presentation we became 30 girls and it was up to us to communicate the little we knew to those who were starting, that’s when my career as a dancer began.

Video: @osardurancaracasphotographer

Estilismo @negraugueto_trenzas

Dressing by @afrikacaribevzla

Dancer: @cacicahonta

With the support of @100porcientosanagustin

Honta’s start in photography

I came from militancy and activism in the communities of Caracas, doing cultural activities where there was a need to reflect what we were doing, its people, its colors, its corners and alleys, that’s when I started doing photography that taught me that other way of seeing the world.

Honta’s artistic objective

I practice dance, theater, design, collage and photography to have a broad view of new ways of creating. Art is a social good and should be common. It is an excuse in my life to make the invisible visible. Each of the expressions that I practice are tools of struggle in the defense of human rights, the defense of the territory of peasants and indigenous people and the struggle of women for dignity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through these spaces I want to have meetings to develop my career, to be able to work on projects where I can deepen our history and leave seeds for the new generations, as a mother and activist that I am. To continue betting on residencies, scholarships, competitions and international exhibitions that would allow me to exploit my creative and economic potential as an artist. So receiving this award helped me to have the time I need to invest in my own career instead of my survival and that of my family.

Social impact

I seek to consolidate forms of community organization that can be sustainable over time, with the objective of transforming the reality of our communities. I speak of autonomy, both in thought and action, as a fundamental condition for creation, struggle and community social work.

Premio Prince Claus Seed Awards 2022 to Honta

The Prince Claus Seed Awards 2022, which inspire new artists and cultural professionals whose work addresses pressing issues in their local communities.

The Prince Claus Seed Awards winners were selected from more than 1,500 applicants. This year’s winners come from more than 70 countries, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Their work covers a wide range of disciplines and addresses a diversity of social concerns, from gender equality, racial justice and indigenous rights to freedom of expression and the impacts of climate change.

Los Premios Prince Claus Seed fueron parcialmente posibles gracias al British Council y al Ing Yoe Tan Fund.

The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development sent this package from the Netherlands as part of the recipients of the 2022 Seed Award.

The prize (package) came with a brochure of the participants along with a gift bag produced in Colombia and designed by the 2020 Prince Claus Award winner, Diamantina Arcoíris @diamantina_arcoiris and colleagues from the Real Love Foundation @amor_real_love who make art for individual and collective transformation where all members and participants of the project are in the process of permanent rehabilitation, They have a shelter house that is also their creative workshop in the Santa Fe neighborhood, and their main tool is the WILL, which transcends and reflects it in a conscious fashion brand that produces unique handmade garments.

Also the delivery of a physical Seed Award, which represents the recognition and confidence in our practice. This award has been designed by Irma Boom @irma_boom_amsterdam graphic designer.

The award has given me opportunities for economic, social and artistic development, an opportunity to promote my projects for youth at risk of social exclusion, a door that will open many more doors for me. To be able to go deeper in my quest to know and make visible our identity and culture through what I do.

What projects does Honta have in mind for the future?

To be able to travel and get feedback from other colleagues who in every corner are making history, to be able to share mine from my experience as a mother woman to know and spread that world, every expression of what I do, I claim it and at the same time I look for the origin of those who fought for it, our indigenous and Africans and their culture. If anything motivates me is to take the cultural pulse with an Afro-indigenous perspective and transformative intention.

Cacri Photos. Creole street photography

Since 2014 I began to train myself as a self-taught photographer and videographer, understanding these trades as tools at the service of human rights and social processes.

In 2019 @cacriphotos made me the call to belong to the collective, it was not from that moment when I started to believe I was a photographer, and to see it from another point of view, more investigative and professional.

Since our beginnings we have recorded, from a diverse, documentary and artistic perspective, the dynamics of the city and its people. His work is a visual statement felt and thought from the west, in which everyday life builds a deep sense of who we are and how we have lived and reinvented our lives in the density of the most recent years. In Cacri’s photographs, as in Caracas, tradition and novelty, the sacred and the profane, rootedness and mobility, what we are and what we aspire to be, the deep fractures alongside the improbable harmony of our cultural diversity as a city, converge in the same space.

Who or what influences Honta?

The need to tell my story and those around me, friends, neighbors, the family that life gave me, our history as Venezuelan men and women are the ones who have driven me to express myself through these tools that today I continue to know and communicate.

Mujeres, Cuerpos y Territorios, Las Comadres Purpuras, Ksa La Tribu, Manzanoarte, are many platforms that link training and communication, seeking to strengthen unconventional and counter-hegemonic leaderships, organizations of women, men, boys and girls, peasants, indigenous and popular and rural sectors from an eco-feminist and human rights perspective, promote the dissemination and promotion of the performing arts as a tool for social transformation, from the areas of recreation, training, exchange of knowledge, community cultural development for children in Venezuela with the autonomous support of those who identify and believe in the projects to which I belong and that unites them is the desire to change our space with love and justice.

We dress Caribbean and with identity, Afrika Caribe

Afrika Caribe was born in 2014 out of the need to tell stories through what we wear, more than designing clothes, we try to give life and own voice to each piece and make it able to tell the story of its owner anywhere in the world. We feel that thinking differently requires a different language and a different image.

We must offer a modern, rebellious and cosmopolitan alternative, but rooted in the best traditions of which we are proud as Venezuelans, in the diversity of our people, in the beautiful landscapes of our country and in our curious customs.

Afrika Caribe has unique and original designs made by Venezuelan artists.

“Contra la pared”

“Against the wall” is a public exhibition of our photographs of documentary and street photography that we have been doing from our collective. The process consists of printing the images selected from our portfolio and placing them on strategic walls of the street, mainly in the areas where these photographs were taken. The objective of this intervention is to achieve a street gallery to give back to the city a little of what it gives us daily through its infinite daily scenarios. Since 2020 we have been working with this in a self-managed way. However, thanks to the support of the Alliance Française we can take this project to a larger scale format. We have two and three more are coming.

Honta is undoubtedly very clear about the projection of his wonderful artistic work, I invite you to follow his work in social networks:

Instagram:

@cacicahonta

@afrikacaribevzla

@cacicahontaphotos

@cacriphotos

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