Héctor Eliazar Ortiz Roa


Yagua Ko




Dominican Republic


41 x 62 cm



Credits: Courtesy of the artist

In Yagua Ko, Dominican artist Héctor Eliazar Ortiz Roa camouflages the body of a racialized naked man in an artificial setting constructed with organic materials. The background is composed of green banana leaves and the model covers his face with a dry leaf. He is seated on the imaginary trunk of a plant supported by an improvised fabric. As in other photographs, the artist manually intervened the image, applying white geometric strokes to the model’s feet. Unlike the 19th-century studio photographs—particularly those of racialized subjects in the Global South, in which the subject becomes the object of study of the colonial enterprise—, in Yagua Ko Ortiz creates an image that resists that gaze and invites us to construct an imagined future where nature and man share a space in harmony. The title of the work, Yagua Ko, is a combination of native words from different languages recomposed by the artist to evoke a more horizontal relationship between man and nature. The word Yagua, from the Arawak language of the Taino, refers to the fabric that covers the upper part of the palms and falls when they grow. Ko comes from Haitian Creole and means body. Language and corporality are the backbones of this series.