Beatriz Quintana Valle, oral narrator of the Akokan Project


Black woman, oral narrator of the Akokan project… Beatriz Quintana Valle talks about her experiences in confronting Covid 19 and her future aspirations. Read her story

It is no secret that this pandemic has caused suffering and distress throughout the world, but there are certainly more vulnerable sectors and here in Cuba it is no secret either that the most vulnerable population is the black population, because it is the one that has historically had the least resources.

As a black woman and an artist I have suffered that discouragement above all from the economic point of view, when I have seen myself without resources to be able to provide for my family, because I am the provider of my home, and I see the differences that are established between those who have more, for X reasons, and those who have less.

Certainly it is more difficult for women when we are alone, when we are the motor of the house, when we have to be aware of many things, but, in addition, in my particular case, that I have to make art, that I have to think not only of mine but of others, it has been very difficult to unfold, to be able for example to tell stories in the networks and to put my best face, and behind that there are thousands of problems that remain unsolved.

It’s really very difficult and I don’t know how we could make a call to make black women more visible. It’s not just to put a black person in an X position, but to really make ourselves visible, to be taken into account. There are many projects that I would like to do as an artist, but I don’t have the means or the institutional support to do it.

When Mayra Navarro died, a great personal loss and for the guild to which I belong, I was left in charge of the group. Since then it has been very difficult to manage, for example, her posthumous tribute; first, because of the situation of the COVID, and second, because I am not as well known as she was.

So in these times of Covid everything becomes more difficult, but I am persevering and I get ahead, and I want my life projects to also get ahead, personally, inside my house, the things I want to do, my house that I have to fix, that eight years since the death of my mother I have stranded for lack of economy. And I have a thousand social projects in mind, but I can’t get them off the ground unless I have strong institutional support and, of course, funding.

During this time I have been able to reflect on these and many other things and rethink my life in a different way, I think that now when we move on to what they call the new normality, I will go with more clutches, stronger, to be able to fulfill what I have in mind, to be able to fulfill my dreams, to make my projects and to continue creating as an artist, but also to always defend women and the black race in any instance and in the first place.

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