Richmond-based musician Héctor Coco Barez offers a specially recorded performance as part of the University Museums exhibit Action & Reaction: Looking at the Art of Social Justice. Co-commissioned by University Museums and the Modlin Center for the Arts, the film features an original composition and performance both created by Barez with the collaboration of 12 musicians and artists in Puerto Rico, where he is based during the pandemic. The film, shot following local safety protocols, is made in collaboration with a recording studio and video crew in the artist’s home city.
The film explores folkloric traditions and contemporary interpretations of Bomba, a distinctly Puerto Rican drum, song, and dance tradition of the African diaspora that has become one of the keys to Puerto Rican identity. Barez will join Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions of University Museums and Shannon Hooker, assistant director of the Modlin Center for the Arts for a presentation of the film followed by a discussion covering topics about the film’s inspiration, the creative process developing this musical performance during this time, and the inherent themes of social justice addressed in his work.
Héctor Coco Barez, one of the most active Puerto Rican percussionists of his generation, uses Bomba, an Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance form used to voice freedom, individuality, and cultural affirmation. Bomba is considered to be the main vehicle that expresses the African presence in Puerto Rico’s culture. He is an educator and musician who performs with local, national, and international musical groups including Grammy-winning Calle 13 and Richmond’s own Bio Ritmo. In 2017, Barez received a commission from the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts to create his own musical proposal which he entitled El Laberinto del Coco. In this unique journey, he uses Bomba as the rhythmic base that condenses all his experiences in music creating an exhilarating pathway between past and present times.
Each ticket also provides on-demand access to the broadcast after the performance.
This performance is made possible in part with generous support from the Louis S. Booth Fund for the Arts, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the Cultural Affairs Committee.
Visit the exhibit: Action & Reaction: Looking at the Art of Social Justice
University Museums, January 19 – May 23, 2021
*Museum is currently only open to the campus community
“Héctor “Coco” Barez & El Laberinto del Coco,” New York Latin Culture Magazine
Virtual Tour of the Exhibition: You can virtually walk through the Action & Reaction exhibition to view more than 80 historical and modern artworks from the University Museums’ permanent collection, with highlighted presentations of the work of Judy Chicago, Avel de Knight, and Danny Lyon.