An Ancestral Dinner Party…..Latin American Journeys and Genographic Inspired Art in Miami

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National Geographic

December 11, 2008

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Western European Principal Investigator David Comas and members of the Genographic team were at the Miami Museum of Science today speaking with participants about the journeys that led them from Latin American to their current homes in and around Miami. In a city famous for its rich culture, Genographic Participants representing Spain and 17 Latin American countries — Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela — chatted and swapped stories with each other that helped inspire a new art installation titled ‘An Ancestral Dinner Party.’

After using the recently launched Genographic Spanish language kit, Dr. Juanita de la Cruz, describes her experience: “My move from Mexico to Miami in 1953 was life changing for me and the Genographic Project has helped me understand how my own journey fits in with the migration of my ancient ancestors in that it adds another dimension – much more on a global scale – on how I can think about my own heritage.”

“This is a great opportunity for the Latino community, and I am honored to participate. Many of us coming to this country have inevitably suffered a certain loss of culture. It would be a shame to lose our migratory history as well. The Genographic Project re-acquaints us with our ancient past to show that we are, more or less, all related and connected to one another,” said Genographic Project participant Jimmy Gamonet de los Heros, from Peru.

“Tracing lineage can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. This adds a new dimension because now I know that at least that needle exists,” said Genographic Participant Carl Juste whose traces his ancestors back to Cuba and Haiti.

Organized around the 1933 Pan American Airways globe that now has its home in the lobby of the Museum of Science, artist Xavier Cortada created an installation inspired by Cruz’s and 16 other participants’ diverse results. Titled ‘Ancestral Dinner Party,’ Cortada explained how the installation integrates science with art to “depict when and where the ancient ancestors of present-day Latin Americans last dined together along their 60,000-year journey out of Africa to populate our planet.”

After last week’s Art Basel in Miami, a cultural event celebrating the Americas with art, Miami is a natural home for the ‘Ancestral Dinner Party’ to be cultivated and featured. Gillian Thomas, President of the Museum, invites everyone to check the exhibit out and encourages you to sample a little bit of what Miami and the ongoing legacy of its people have to offer.

Our reception in Miami has been so warm, we think we will take her up on that offer…….

Visit the recently launched Genographic Spanish Website and order a Spanish Language Kit.

Read the Press Release to be filled in on more details.