Misterio Tropical exposes reductive ideas of Latinas in Miami that pool them with other tourist attractions and enable stereotypes about their image. These passionate, sexy, tropical pillars are staples on brochures and necessary to the Miami experience. The blatant objectification of Latinas works to hypnotize its target audience and redirect them from the reality of Miami’s ultra prevalent machismo, it’s devastating environmental fate, and its questionable economy. This work reclaims authority over Latina bodies and seduces the viewer with gestures that mock and subvert the male gaze. Color, tropical imagery, and ideas of self portraiture challenge what some might identify as Latina signifiers. The figure’s repetitive, uncanny movement has a mesmerizing effect that demands focus and stirs up self-consciousness. One becomes responsible for the feelings provoked by the video. The sexualization of the mango’s consumption is ironic—the imposition of being provocative infects even the most common activities. The mango is ultimately not eaten, but birthed, reminding the audience that women are players in the world and not tools for marketing. The soundtrack, a distorted sample of Willy Chirino’s “Soy Guajiro”, is intentional in recalling the commercial appropriation of Cuban culture as another aspect of tourism.
Shown at Spinello Projects in Mere Façade, Summer 2017