Cultura y conciencia

Friends, Colleagues Remember Alanna Lockward in Video Tribute

Culture, WomenNelson SantanaComment

By Nelson Santana
August 14, 2019

Decolonial scholar, curator, author, and journalist Alanna Lockward passed away earlier this year on January 7, 2019. Soon after, a group of fellow scholars, activists, and friends put out a call for a video tribute of Lockward. The video memorial collage made its YouTube debut on Tuesday, July 2. As noted in the call:

With her passing, the world has lost a dedicated trailblazer in the fight against anti-Haitian, anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and an ally to decolonial movements throughout the world.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Alanna Lockward explained her identity as being Caribbean first, then Dominican and Haitian, and afterward transnational. An author, curator, filmmaker, activist, thinker, Lockward spent her time challenging the status quo. As founding director of Art Labour Archives, she helped to create a space for political activism and art. She also helped to conceptualize BE.BOP (Black Europe Body Politics; 2012-2016), “the first international screening program and transdisciplinary roundtable centered on Black European citizenship in connection to recent moving image and performative practices.”

Lockward’s family lineage includes several artists and intellectuals. Puerto Plata-born composer, singer and musician Juan Lockward was Alanna’s great uncle. Her grandfather was George Augustus Lockward Stamers, a historian, university professor, philologist, and writer.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of Lockward’s passing, some took the opportunity to advance their own agenda, as several media outlets falsely reported that Lockward had passed in Haiti, when in reality, she died in the Dominican Republic. Subsequently, ESENDOM contacted Nathalia Romero from Listín Diario about the error. As a true professional, Romero noted our concern and revised/retracted the statement regarding Lockward’s death. Even in the aftermath of her passing, the activist legacy of Lockward still resonates loud and clear, debunking the myth of her passing.

The video homage is sponsored by the Haiti-DR Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Saudi García and Dylan Roth edited the video. Christina C. Davidson, Sophie Maríñez, and Joiri Minaya produced the video tribute.

 Below, some words from Alanna Lockward’s friends and colleagues:

Perdimos, perdimos, perdimos una gran mujer. Perdimos un motor que podía provocar unos cambios en esta sociedad.

(We lost, we lost, we lost a great woman. We lost an engine that could provoke many changes in our society.)
— Maribel Núñez
Porque ella es una persona que siempre tuvo detrás de proyectos nobles, inteligentes, y comprometidos. Alanna fue una persona que llevó en su vida la misión de enaltecer la verdadera identidad nacional dominicana.

(Because she was someone who always was behind noble, intelligent, and engaged projects. Alanna was someone who in her lifetime had the mission to exalt the true national Dominican identity.)
— Ruben Silié
Para mi, Alanna hizo enormes contribuciones al panorama artístico e intelectual dominicano. Como periodista fue una de las primeras en [cruzar] a Haití en los años noventas a cubrir eventos políticos a raíz del golpe de estado a Aristide, oportunidad que aprovechó para hacer reportajes únicos sobre la vida de los dominicanos y las dominicanas inmigrantes en el país vecino. De esta manera se convirtió en una de las primeras en querer a entender a Haití más allá de los prejuicios que conforman el gran tabú o las gran fronteras ecologícas entre nuestros dos países. El segundo gran aporte de Alanna ha sido el de ser pionera en promover las artes visuales y performance de los artistas de la diáspora dominicana como Nicolás Dumit y Josefina Báez a quienes llevó a República Dominicana ya en el año 2000 y a Ingrid Madera, Mónica Ferreras y Charo Oquet entre muchos otros cuyas obras ayudó a promocionar en exposiciones internacionales. En lo personal, siempre recordaré a Alanna como una de las personas más valientes que he conocido en mi vida. Tenía un gran arrojo y siempre combatió el racismo y el sexismo de lo cual ella misma fue víctima numerosas veces. A pesar de ello, nunca se amendentró. Al contrario, el rechazo lo que hacía era darle más ímpetu todavía para seguir sus cosas: crear nuevos proyectos, invitar a otros, darles a otros la oportunidad extraordinaria de colaborar en proyectos que eran más grande que ella misma o que cada uno de nosotros.

(For me, Alanna made major contributions to the artistic and intellectual Dominican landscape. As a journalist, she was one of the first to cross into Haiti in the nineties to cover political events rooted in the overthrow of Aristide, an opportunity she took advantage of to provide unique coverage of immigrant Dominican lives in the neighboring nation. It is in this manner that she became one of the first people in wanting to understand Haiti beyond the prejudices that comprise the great taboo or the vast ecological border between both countries. Alanna’s second major contribution has been her ability to become a pioneer in promoting the visual arts and performance of Dominican artists of the diaspora such as Nicolás Dumit and Josefina Báez, whom she brought to the Dominican Republic in the year 2000 and Ingrid Madera, Mónica Ferreras and Charo Oquet among many others whose artwork she helped to promote at international exhibitions. On a personal level, I will always remember Alanna as one of the bravest people I have ever known in my life. She was daring and always battled racism and sexism of which she had been a victim of on numerous occasions. Nonetheless, she never allowed this to intimidate her. On the contrary, rejection only gave her more fortitude to continue: create new projects, invite others, give others the opportunity to collaborate on projects that were much bigger than her and each one of us.)
— Sophie Maríñez
 At first we met through email…lots of questions. Lots of why, when, how, and what time? And lots of responses from her. Timely responses. I would ask…she would respond. One gram of patience she said to me. One gram…just wait. Things will happen and they did. She was there. She was there to listen. She was there to solve things. She was there to support. She was there to enjoy what was happening. She was there and I appreciate that.
— Nicolás Dumit Estévez
Nunca perdió su vínculo ni su esencia. El origen de su familia fue un incentivo permanente en la búsqueda de su verdad, de su decolonización personal.

(She never lost the linkage of her essence. The origin of her family was a permanent incentive during her journey to find the truth of her personal decolonization.)
— Beba Finke
Tú fuiste madre y amiga, apasionada…dramática, generosa, alegre, inquieta, inteligentísima.

(You were a mother and friend, passionate…dramatic, generous, filled with joy, restless, super intelligent.)
— Mónica Ferreras
Luminous, energetic, cosmopolitan, generous, dynamic, honest, committed, vibrant.
— Miguel Gómez
Un ser humano excepcional. Una mujer con una gran energía vital.

(An exceptional human being. A woman with great vital energy.)
— Quisqueya Lora
If there is something that sums up her legacy for me it would have to be Be.Bop. The series Black Europe Body Politics that she started in 2012 in Berlin...What meant most both to me and to many of the artists and activists and academics that she managed to gather for that meeting and all the following ones was that she was not taking baby steps toward the hostile context that is the political and academic context of Germany for Black Europeans but instead of taking baby steps she chose to short-circuit those. She would address issues upfront. She just did the impossible, the unthinkable. She was the unthinkable act.
— Manuela Boataca
A Dominican writer, journalist, dancer, curator.
— Walter Mignolo

List of people who spoke in the video (in alphabetical order):

Manuela Boataca (artist and Be.Bop organizer)

Christina Davidson (historian and postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University)

Susanna Delmonte (friend)

Nicolás Dumit Estévez (visual artist)

Beba Finke (art curator and historian)

Jeannette Ehlers (artist and Be.Bop affiliate)

Mónica Ferreras (visual artist)

Miguel Gómez (photographer)

Judy Justo Anderson (AME Mother Bethel Member Samaná, Dominican Republic)

Quisqueya Lora (historian, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo)

Patricia Kaersenhout (artist)

Sophie Maríñez (Professor of Modern Languages, City University of New York)

Pablo Mella (Jesuit priest, scholar, and professor)

Joiri Minaya (artist)

Walter Mignolo (semiotician and William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature Duke University)

Maribel Núñez (activist, Acción Afro-Dominicana)

Elena Quintarelli (researcher, curator, BE.Bop organizer)

Rubén Silié (Dominican Republic Ambassaor to Haiti)

John Thomas III (editor of Christian Recorder)

Biographical Sketch of Alanna Lockward

As per biographical sketches of Lockward in Transart Institute and, Lockward received a Licentiate degree in Communication Science from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico City. Afterward, she received a masters in Art in Context from the Universität der Künste in Berlin. In addition, Lockward received a diploma in Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dance, performing with the Ballet Clásico Nacional (Dominican Republica), Ballet de Cámara de Jalisco (Mexico), Neubert Ballet (United States) and the Australian Opera (Australia).

Lockward held several positions in the Dominican Republic including that of Director of International Affairs at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo and adjunct professor of audiovisual theory and investigative journalism at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santiago. As an accomplished journalist and editor, she worked at Listín Diario as a cultural editor, conducted research at Rumbo magazine, and served as columnist for the Miami Herald. In addition, Lockward’s writings also appeared in other prestigious publications including Afrikadaa, Atlántica, Art Nexus, Camera Austria, and Savvy Journal, among many others. She also held academic positions at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the University of Warwkic, Dutch Art Institute, and Goldsmiths University of London, among others.

In addition, due to her distinguished career, Lockward has been honored with several awards including the production prize FONPROCINE 2013 for the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME); she has also been honored by the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the Danish Arts Council.



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