Quinazo - La Ofrenda
The great post-colonial theorist, Homi Bhabha, once commented that, “the role of the artist is to be a moral witness in between barbarism and civility, which are inextricably intertwined.” Bearing that in mind, Quinazo’s La Ofrenda represents a rather quintessential example of artistry in that it situates itself as a bridge between. Its timeliness is of equal importance to its message. In a moment that is so commonly celebrated as being post-colonial, post-civil rights, and post-racial, La Ofrenda exposes us to the lingering effects of colonialism the world over; to the fact that the election of the first Black president has not signaled an end to Black politics, to the fact that the Civil Rights movement is not over; to the sustained salience of race, class, gender and other modern markers of difference which made the 20th century the most violent and bloody in human history and that now propel the 21st down a similar path of self destruction. While La Ofrenda builds an allegorical bridge between barbarism past and present and, in doing so, provides a rather sound diagnosis of the origins and pervasiveness of social disease, it also introduces us to a new types of medicine to heal our social body. That medicine is not something excavated from the past and repackaged in the present. It does not present itself as a vanguard of the old or new. Instead, it is an amalgamation of ingredients blended in a new recipe and using appropriate technologies. Quinazo’s kitchen provides the proper temperature and utensils to mix the haunting soul of Jamaica’s reggae music and its revolutionary spirit of Rastafarianism, the rich re-memory and story telling of the corrido tradition of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the spirit of solidarity and protest of the labor movement, the symbolism of U.S. folk music, the ancient wisdom of Amerindian cultures and peoples, and adaptive mantras of Islamic and Catholic traditions of resistance. La Ofrenda is an example that the most powerful art does not replicate but innovates and inoculates.
Dr. John D. Marquez
Professor of Latino and African American Studies