Performances by Rafael Sanchez and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky

Performances by Rafael Sanchez and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky

Thursday, November 30, 2017
6 to 8pm

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky,  The poems my mother recited , the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, May 11, 2016. Photo by Constance Mensh.

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, The poems my mother recited, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, May 11, 2016. Photo by Constance Mensh.

This evening of performance brought two artists together, both featured in The Supper Club portraits, Rafael Sanchez and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky. Sanchez, known for his performance-based practice, often staged in public spaces, performed a new work titled PMA Socialization Ritual (Part I), in which he shared brief stories of cultural beauty and tenderness with the audience. Using an elixir made from fruits, flowers, and spices, he "enticed the audience to share their own beautiful narratives, in hopes of transcending the strictures of routine and anxious thought patterns." Skvirsky staged an iteration of her performance The poems my mother recited, a restaging of her mother's poetry recitals from when she was growing up in Guayaquil, Equador in the 1960s. By revisiting this art form, Skvirsky highlights its importance as an oral tradition while exploring how the artist assimilates her mother's transmission of feminine identity through an emotional and symbolic experience.


Rafael Sanchez (b. Newark, New Jersey, 1978) is a performance artist who often takes his work to the streets and other unconventional spaces. In his performances, Sanchez frequently subjects his body to extreme stress and pain to materialize ideas of memory, spirituality and endurance. In an early work titled Back to Africa (2000), Sanchez wandered around New Jersey in white face, carrying a suitcase and waiting for a bus that never arrived. In a more recent work, Calienté/Frio (2007) the artist traced the migration process of two women from Cuba to America during the 1960s. The artist, dressed in a light colored suit and hat and carrying a packed suitcase, submerged himself in a tub of water that alternated between near boiling and below freezing as interviews with the two Cuban women played in the background. Recently, in Fire Brigade Water the Road (2017), he has focused on creating safe and nurturing social spaces where people can share and process dimensions of their internal landscapes, all for the benefit of reimagining the purpose and importance of sincere interpersonal communication. 

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, video and performance. In 2015, she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship and a Jerome Foundation Grant to produce The Perilous Journey of Maria Palacios, a performance-based film that draws parallels between a teenage girl’s journey through the mountains of Ecuador and the indigenous and Jamaican workers who constructed the most dangerous stretch of railway in the world. The video premiered at the 2016 Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador) curated by Dan Cameron.

In 2010, she participated in There is always a cup of sea for man to sail, the29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), where she exhibited work from her project, Memories of Development. Skvirsky's work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo shows including: The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia, PA (2016); Hansel & Gretel Picture Garden Pocket Utopia, NY, NY (2014); DPM Gallery, Guayaquil, Ecuador (2014); Instituto Cervantes, Rome, Italy (2013); The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ (2013); Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, NY, NY (2013); DPM Gallery, Guayaquil, Ecuador (2012); La Ex-Culpable, Lima, Peru (2010); Scaramouche Art, NY, NY (2010); Galeria Proceso, Cuenca, Ecuador (2009); The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT (2007); El Museo del Barrio, NY, NY (2006); Sara Meltzer Gallery, NY, NY (2006); Jessica Murray Projects, NY, NY (2006); Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY (2007); Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY (2006); and others.

She has received grants from The New Jersey State Council in the Arts, Photography (2015); The New York State Council on the Arts, Film and Electronic Arts, NY (2010); Urban Artist Initiative, NY, NY (2006); National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), San Antonio, TX (2006); and Puffin Foundation, Teaneck, NJ (2006), amongst others.

She has participated in the following Artist-in-Residence programs: Office Hours, El Museo Del Barrio, NY, NY (2015); The Laundromat Project, NY, NY (2011); McDowell Artist-in-Residence Program, Peterborough, NH (2005 & 2010); Cuts and Burns Residency, Outpost, Artist-in-Residence Program, Brooklyn, NY (2008); Harvestworks New Work Residency, NY, NY (2006); Swing Space, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY, NY (2005); Institute of Electronic Arts Residency, Alfred University, Alfred, NY (2005); Center for Book Arts, Artist-in-Residence, NY, NY (2005); Smack Mellon Artist-in-Residence, Brooklyn, NY (2004); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Workspace, Woolworth Building, NY, NY (2003); and Cyberart Residency, Longwood Arts Project, Bronx, NY (2003); amounts others.

Skvirsky is an Associate Professor of Art at Lafayette College, Easton, PA and an MFA faculty member at The New School, Parsons School of Design, NY, NY.