Mar Português is a performance of Vasco Da Gama’s feverish dreams, as he lay dying in Cochin, India, longing for Lisbon. Created as a hallucination on the Tagus River, this is a surreal staging of intertwined colonial histories and contemporary modernities. It collides historical memories and traces of the past with the languages, cultures and practices of the present. In Mar Portugues, Tanzanian born Joseph and Portuguese performer Varino haunt Lisbon’s shores with sounds and movements from Portuguese Africa and Lusophone India.
Mar Portugues emerges out of Joseph’s investigations into the trans-oceanic connections between Indian Ocean cities linked through shared colonial histories across oceanic routes, and maritime trade networks of the Fifteenth Century. Peoples from the South China Seas were brought by the Portuguese and the Dutch to India’s Malabar Coast, and from there, to Portuguese and Dutch Africa. These journeys continued into Brazil and the Caribbean, finally bringing the histories of these passages back to Lisbon. Many coastal peoples of Africa and Asia were impacted through these encounters, morphed, mutated and transformed into today’s Cape Town, Cochin, Surat, Panaji, Mombasa, Recife, Mannahatta. Mar Portugues is a tracing of that lost history of crossings.
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