art and dance

The flamenco dancer will be performing at the “popular” exhibition  this Friday 1st of December. The Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) will bring to the city the flamenco with African roots performed by Yinka Esi Graves the 1st of December. At 19:00h, the flamenco dancer will offer a specific performance in galleries 4 and 5 of the museum, where the “popular” exhibition is curated by Pedro G. Romero. The performance has been named “Transposition”, and it has been inspired by her own experience as a flamenco dancer of African descent. It is presented with the shape of a concert party, an scenic genre from Ghana. The piece is an extension of “The Disappearing Act” series, four audiovisual performances made by Graves, which will  be done in the “popular” exhibition space of IVAM.

The curator of the exhibition, Pedro G. Romero, stated that “ in this series filmed by Miguel Ángel Rosales, Yinka points at places where the disappearance of humanity had happened, where we saw slavery appear. With mimetic, camouflage or distinctive body techniques, we will appreciate a mutation in the appearance, disappearance and reappearance of an African descendant”.

Placing flamenco in the centre, Graves work operates around the invisibility of the experience of the black woman in diaspora, giving them a voice. The artist is a firm defender of the African roots that are associated to flamenco, as well as of ad-lib, lament in folk singing, acrobatic jumps and the sense of dance and music that are articulated with the community.  The relationship between a dynamic rhythm, a specific vocabulary and the idea that the spectators are also participants are expressive ways of the African diaspora.

Born in the United Kingdom but with her roots in Ghana, Jamaica and Cuba, the dancer has a degree in Art History on Sussex University. In 2009, she moved to Madrid to study in Escuela de Flamenco Amor de Dios and later with masters such as Yolanda Heredia, La Lupi and Andrés Marín in Sevilla. Moreover, Yinka Esi Graves is one of the invited teachers of Articulacions, the international studies programme about theories and artistic practices of IVAM, together with the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the Universitàt de València (UV).


The exhibition suggests a reflexion on the cultural archetypical of what is popular throughout more than 1500 works of art from IVAM’s collection based on a thesis: those groups which do not have a political representation have an excess of symbolic representation, as it occurs with African descendant, Arabian or Roma culture. The exhibition goes deep into the culture of flamenco and some of its contemporary ways of representation, where Yinka Esi Graves’ work finds its place.


Report by Carlos Catalán Ruz

Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’

Photo copyright Renato-Cruz-Santos_GMP-Romero-Encerrament



‘Popular’ Exhibition until 14th April 2024

Guillem de Castro, 118, 46003 València

Tel: 963 176 600


Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00h to 19:00h
Friday from 10:00h to 20:00h
Monday closed

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