Public photography project captures Havana’s Afro-Cuban dancers in the Pogolotti Community

Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel

Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel is a photography installation and international education program celebrating the rhythms of Cuba. Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama will take place at Harlem Hospital Mural Pavilion from Monday 5 August to Monday 30 September as part of HARLEM WEEK.

Angel has worked with renowned Afro-Cuban dancers and the Pogolotti community, a Havana neighborhood famous for its Rumba, to create a series of vibrant, life-sized photographs that capture the energy and passion of Rumba. The never seen before photographs will be accompanied by a custom-made soundtrack including a reading by Alden Knight of one of Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén’s poems set to Rumba percussion.

Liquid Heat is being hosted by the Harlem Hospital Mural Pavilion, home of the historic WPA murals painted in 1936 – the first public art commission to be awarded to African-Americans.

Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel
Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel

Running alongside the photography installation, Ritmo y Color, a free dance program for children aged six to twelve years old run by Cuban dancer and choreographer Luanda Pau, will take place in the exhibit space at Harlem Hospital Mural Pavilion between Monday 12 August and Friday 16 August. Taking inspiration from Angel’s photography, which aims to express the improvised and endlessly creative nature of Rumba, the workshops will give children who would not have had access to summer dance programs, the opportunity to explore Cuban dance through movement and art, creating links to their own cultural heritage. The children will give a final performance to the public on Saturday 17 August.

A traditional Cuban Rumba following the outdoor children’s performance will take place with Cuban musicians Melvis Santa and her group Ashedí. The Rumba will include live music, a Rumba demonstration, a class with Luanda Pau and then a Rumba gathering for everyone to join in.

Voza Rivers, executive producer of HARLEM WEEK says of the artist:

 “The Liquid Heat public art project, part of HARLEM WEEK’S 45th Anniversary, is as deeply rooted in Harlem as it is in Havana. Jessica Angel celebrates the power of Afro-Cuban Rumba and the sense of community that it brings, and this is what we believe public art is all about. The cultural and historical connection between Harlem and Havana is celebrated and honored through initiatives such as these.”

Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel
Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama by artist Jessica Angel

An international artist, working with photography, dance and the moving image, over the last 20 years Jessica Angel has captured dance on camera with exhibits at; RAW SPACE, Harlem; United Nations, NYC; Museo Casa Guayasamin, Havana; and, Laban Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Jerwood Space in London. She has worked with many acclaimed choreographers and dance companies including Santiago Alfonso, Arthur Pita and Yolande Snaith Theatre Dance.

Liquid Heat was conceived by Jessica Angel to be a celebration of Latin and African-American culture, dance, photography and art for all. Liquid Heat is also planning an expanded program of exhibits and education in Havana, and Rio de Janeiro and to return to Harlem in 2020. Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama is sponsored by the Harlem Community Development Corporation, Tahl Propp Property Development, the World Music Institute and the Cuban Artists Fund, New Heritage Theatre Group and Harlem Arts Alliance.

Liquid Heat 2019 follows from its successful launch as part of Harlem Havana Festival in August 2018.

  • Liquid Heat | La Rumba Llama installation: Monday 5 August to Monday 30 September
  • Ritmo Y Color free children’s dance program: Monday 12 August – Friday 16 August
  • Ritmo Y Color public performance: Saturday 17 August at 2.30 pm
  • Traditional Cuban Rumba with live music, demonstration and class – open to the public: Saturday 17 August – at 3.15pm