El Río Sinú / The River Sinú

In the visual poem El Río Sinú / The River Sinú, I reflect on my cultural background as a mestizo with ethnic origins rooted in historical conflict.

Through interviews with my family members, I collected information about my ancestors and contemporaries who have lived in the Sinú valley, in Colombia. These conversations shed light on my ancestors’ relationship to the land—as farmers and cattle ranchers, mostly—and their genealogy.

Featuring my family’s history and migrational movements, the poems demonstrate ways the Spanish conquest altered the social and natural landscapes. As part of this conquest, Indigenous stories, language, and culture were erased, a reality that continues today and makes it challenging to grasp the rich history and legacy of indigenous people in its entirety.

With this poem, I aim to change the narrative by positionin the reader in the place of the conquered, instead of the conqueror—a place not usually prominent in hisstory books.

The Zenú or Sinú people’s ancestral lands include the valleys of the Sinú and San Jorge rivers and the coast of the Carribean around the Gulf of Morrosquillo—modern day areas of Cordoba and Sucre. With a rich history prior to colonization spanning from 150 BCE to 1600 CE, today, there is an estimated population of 300,000 Sinú people in Colombia.

Read more about the Mestizje, Intermix / Remix exhibition by clicking here.