Writer and performer Paul Flores and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) are collaborating to create We have Iré, a performance exploring transnational identity that focuses on the lives of Afro-Cuban and Cuban-American artists who are living in the United States and their influence on and experience with American culture. Named after the Santería spiritual condition of “iré,” (a state of being blessed, an energy and positive condition found in the culture, the music, the art, and the style of Cuban artistic expression) and its opposite “osogbo” (curse), the We Have Iré project will highlight the complex discourse around Cuban-American political identity and the blessings and curses found in individual immigration stories.
Spoken word artist, poet, playwright, and performer Paul Flores’s work explores urban culture, hip-hop, and transnational identity based on his experiences growing up between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, California. In this project, he will draw upon methods he has honed for creating interview-based performances that tell the stories of real people. His artistic partners in this project include Afro-Cuban choreographer and dancer Ramón Alayó, Afro-Cuban folkloric jazz composer, saxophonist, and percussionist Yosvany Terry, and director Rosalba Rolón of Pregones Theater. YBCA will partner with Flores on extensive community engagement both with communities in San Francisco’s Mission District and members of the YBCA Fellows Program to discuss and problem solve around the topics of citizenship, immigration, civic engagement, and political art. The project will premiere at YBCA in spring 2019.