The Atlanta art scene that had so long prioritized the white and hetero has seen a stronger formation of diversity over the past decade. The myriad mediums of art forms produced by the various communities in our Southeastern hub is spectacular, and Ni Aquí Ni Allá’s impact has been beyond grand indeed.
The name means “Neither Here Nor There,” and the team’s upcoming multimedia show on April 19 at The Bakery is a collaborative effort of more than 20 artists, featuring both the personal and political in expression.
“We will revisit our childhood memories, our family traditions, our spiritual roots through a lens polished with subversion and decolonization,” states Ni Aquí Ni Allá’s mission. “It’s a window onto a vital facet of American culture, and we welcome people of all backgrounds to indulge in our uniquely American blend of Latin cultures and traditions, uprooted and replanted.”
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Artistic Director Bella Dorado says Dorado has always found herself surrounded by queers and feminists, communities integral for the project.
“Ni Aquí Ni Allá seeks to explore the complexity and fluidity of identity that exists within our community so gathering a broad range of artistic perspectives was always at the forefront of our intentions,” Dorado explains. “What was really lovely about the submission process was that we didn’t actually have to search and scrounge for that representation. Proposals poured in from queer and feminist artists hungry to voice their travails and triumphs surrounding their journeys of self discovery.”
Queer and feminist narratives have also been the life force behind the ongoing Bodies on Display series by group Curator Joey Molina. Having previously revamped 368 Ponce and currently co-organizing the Discrit theory discussion at Murmur Gallery, Molina is proving a rich resource for the Ni Aquí Ni Allá team withhis deep well of knowledge combined with a passion to bring these stories to surface.
The vision of Ni Aquí Ni Allá Creative Director Margarita Rios further rounds the show concept of art submerging into one beautiful amalgamation of dialogue. Rios’ organizational spark also serves promo company OYE with her partners Living Wall’s Monica Campana and La Choloteca’s Randall Ruiz.
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Project Manager Amanda Bonilla met Dorado after a dance class, and both movement artists are set to perform during the April 19 show, “searching, reflecting and meditating, serving as a live representation of what the Latinx community is constantly experiencing,” Bonilla says.
The show also features work by Estela Semeco, Roberto Navarrete, Victoria Garcia, Jurell Cayetano, Kathy Garcia and others who amp imagery with Latinx subjects and style. From sex-positive chongas to the deep grassroots of pagan brujas, aesthetic and identity intertwine in underground art and music that alive and proud thanks to the cultural re-imaginings of feminist and queer Latinx, Dorado muses.
“Identity is ultimately fluid, and I find that beautiful and fascinating,” Dorado says. “There are certain aspects of your identity that may always remain the same, but for the most part identity shifts over and over again throughout your life.”
But that shift represents artistic potential, she adds.
“I think that state of constant flux is usually discouraged because it is interpreted as being unsure of yourself or undefined, but for me that fluidity and constant opportunity for change represents freedom, growth, and adaptability,” Dorado says.
As a fresh group of visionaries, Ni Aquí Ni Allá thrives at the intersection of feminist, queer and Latinx cultures. Eager to add dialogue to the lush Atlanta art community, their emotive aura of exploration and focus on healing in times of turmoil is already a force to be reckoned with.
For so young a collective, the team has the gusto to bring together a don’t-miss evening of celebration, fused with performance, visual art and dancing.
The Ni Aquí Ni Allá show takes place April 19 at The Baker, 825 Warner Street, 7 p.m. La Choloteca hosts the after party at MJQ Concourse, 736 Ponce de Leon Ave NE. Visit niaquiniallaatl.com
Top photo: Ni Aquí Ni Allá team, from left, Amanda Bonilla, Joey Molina, Bella Dorado, and Margarita Rios. This week’s Q magazine cover featuring Rios, and all team photos below by Patricia Villafane, pvillaphoto.com
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Creative Director Bella Dorado by Patricia Villafane. pvillaphoto.com
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Curator Joey Molina by Patricia Villafane. pvillaphoto.com
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Project Manager Amanda Bonilla by Patricia Villafane. pvillaphoto.com
Ni Aquí Ni Allá Creative Director Margarita Rios by Patricia Villafane. pvillaphoto.com
‘Neither Here Nor There’
Check out these select works from other artists in the Ni Aquí Ni Allá group show on April 19 at The Bakery. niaquiniallaatl.com
This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Pick it up around town, and read the digital version below: