The study of the body and form as it affects our insides, our souls, our energy is just one of Ana María Agüero Jahannes’s objectives; she is a multi-layered and stunning creature. What makes her so different? She is force unrequited, she is force minus strain, she is a force. From her photography that emphasizes female features and journeys to her innovative healing through dance and movement, Ana María pushes our philosophies of what the body can do.
And albeit many hundreds of miles separated us during the interview, I could sense her energy, her animal spirit of which seems to have various forms. It was in the words she used; it was the words she didn’t use. She has missions, plural. It was like we had sat down together; drank a warm tinto con un buñuelo in Bogotá.
What aspect of art feels the most authentic to you?
Doing it. Whether for show or myself. I begin reevaluating my priorities if there’s too long of a hiatus.
What is your most cherished belonging?
My water bottle bag. It holds 1 liter, which I drink before noon, and it rolls up when it’s empty, so I’m not wasting space.
Where do you feel the strongest as a woman and as an artist?
What is your art process like?
I’m creative through and through, so even when I’m not formally “in process,” I’m still experiencing and transforming the world like a creative. I generate ideas all day long, analyze processes, make messes with gusto, innovate even when it ain’t broke, and, next thing I know, tomorrow has come and it starts again.
What is your vision/mission for your art?
Reinvention. Actualization. Do something I’ve never done before. Combine it with many of the talents I’ve honed. Check its personal resonance. Commit to that and the right people will be moved.
Do you gravitate towards certain colors, shapes and images?
Yes! Browns, black and a teensy bit of white for textural detail. Jewel tones: greens, purples, combined with red-oranges. Metals, especially copper. Super organic, gritty textures juxtaposed with sharp lines, solid triangles and squares. Most of my work features the human body. More specifically, I center the physical forms of black and brown women in order to evoke the range of capability and connection among us. ‘Do As Anyanwu Do’ is an acrobatic dance performance I choreographed that illuminates the physical and energetic relationship between healer and seeker of health through acrobatics and Thai massage based on Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed. I Am Your Sister, a photo series of young women of color adorned in handmade headdresses, is a declaration of solidarity. Yo Te Veo Eulalia is a personal story of connection with Afro-Cuban women through portraits taken on the streets of Habana.
Do you prefer to work in the morning or the evening?
I like to work all day long, but I’ve incorporated productive rest time and vary the type of work according to its strain on my body, mind and eyes throughout the day. Mornings can look like this: 10 minutes of dynamic stretching, throwing down in the kitchen, designing/planning in my notebook (no computer before 10), work dates or meetings, a 20-minute power nap and a good lunch. Midday is for the bulk of my individual tasks related to an array of work, from producing shows and figuring out choreography to Photoshopping, editing and writing to personal errands. Evenings I often have acrobatic dance rehearsals for Body Waves and at night I like doing more concentrated work like web development/design or finances.
Who do you study and/or admire?
I’m a spark, a catalyst and an agitator. I often feel like when I’m really doing me, others around me are inspired and moved. Knowing that, a lot of my energy can get drained if I’m not careful, so I make sure to surround myself (physically, in person, and virtually) with people who recharge me, inspire and move me. Stephanie Ciccone-Nascimento (Align With Wellness), Melinda James (About Her Films), Daví (Daví) and Suhaly Bautista (Earth Warrior & Creative Time) are all really good friends who energize me with their commitment to exponential growth beyond a scarcity mentality in the creative areas they are passionate about and are radical queer people of color. I’ve been asking around, “Who are your example of radical, community-centered people of color who make 6 figures?” but I’m waiting for more titillating answers. I also read a lot of rich, white guys who write about lifestyle design, technology, innovation, business, investing and more.
What can you say about art today or art yesterday?
While cultural and historical contexts are significant, I really appreciate art that feels timeless, that blurs the lines between past, present and future. I have a difficult time appreciating pop culture because much of it seems relevant (if that) to no more than this week. Art from the past is being reactivated all the time in the present tense and the space between allows me perspective. With that said, I look for artists from the future for inspiration.
What is on the horizon?
Look out for my program that will help emerging artists focus on their creativity by providing simple business tools and templates. I’ve founded an artist residency program in Bogotá, Colombia and will be putting out a call for the first round of artists by the end of 2015. While both projects are in development, you can stay in the loop, get tips on how to run a successful art business and learn more about my own projects at aguerojahannes.com.
More of her work can be found here:
WORDS BY Jacklyn Janeksela