Conversations | Pablo Espinosa & Dayron Napoles Rubant, IAP Interns
Sharing an interest in building a community of support around artists, Pablo Espinosa and Dayron Napoles Rubant talked to NYFA about their experiences as immigrants and members of the NYFA Learning team.
At The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), we aim to bring diverse perspectives to our work through the lens of our knowledgeable staff, interns, consultants, and interactions with the greater arts community. We’re excited to introduce you to two Immigrant Artist Program interns who bring their passion for the arts to NYFA: Pablo Espinosa and Dayron Napoles Ruybant. Espinosa, who interned with NYFA from August-December 2018, is a Colombian anthropologist and philosopher whose work with the indigenous communities of the Guainía jungle in Colombia resulted in an exhibition (pictured below). Napoles Ruybant, who started as an intern this month, is a Cuban dancer whose career has allowed him to travel and live in many countries including Haiti, Finland, and China.
Read below to learn more about their interests, what inspires them, and the role of the artist in today’s society.
NYFA: What do you think it is the role of the artist today?
Pablo Espinosa: I think that artists today have the very important and difficult task of giving a voice to those stories that are invisible. Artists are able to bring new perspectives into the world and have the power to shake the dominant narratives that seem at times to be the only possible course of things. Art lets us imagine different—previously unseen—possibilities that can transform our ways of being in the world and open up a way to reinvent ourselves.
NYFA: You are interested in exploring the links between art and anthropology. What is the most valuable thing you learned during your time in New York?
PE: I learned that it now is more important than ever to build a community of artists and to support them. My time at NYFA gave me a lot of practical tools and the know-how to start building a support network for artists in my home country; seeing how the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program helps emerging artists to establish themselves and gain more visibility and self-confidence was very inspiring for me.
NYFA: What are your plans for the future?
PE: For the time being, I will go back to Bogotá and get involved in the many exciting art initiatives that are taking place over there. I have been invited to participate in an emerging literary publishing house called Proteo Editorial and I’m looking forward to translating works that haven’t been yet translated into Spanish. I’d also like to implement some of the many things I learned at NYFA and maybe work towards making a similar foundation in Colombia, where migration has not been so much external but internal, due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country.
Next, we hear from Napoles Rubant, who is taking Espinosa’s place as the new IAP intern.
NYFA: Your dance career took you to many countries. Please tell us about your background in dance and event management.
Dayron Napoles Rubant: I was six years old when I started to dance in a folkloric dance group. Later, I graduated from a dance school in my hometown, Santiago de Cuba. I worked for two years in Cuba in a professional dance company before I left for Haiti. In the beginning, dance was purely physical, it was the moment when I didn’t need to think about anything, just perform the movements I was told to. At 18 years old, I traveled to Haiti as a guest dancer with a two-year contract. I ended up living and working there for eight years. During that time, I became a rehearsal director and choreographer. It was then that I started to be more curious about my own body movement and how to use it as a form of expression; how different feelings, states of mind, places, and music affected my movement and body expression. After Haiti, I moved to Finland and worked in a contemporary dance project and theatre musical as a freelance dancer. During my time in Finland, I was questioning myself; what else could I do besides dancing? That is how I ended up going to school for a bachelor’s degree in Event Management. The reason I decided to do this program is that I saw it as an extension of my experience during my dancing career, when I found myself counting bills, planning fundraisers, meeting possible sponsors, and collaboration partners many times. Therefore, I decided to learn the tools that could help me as a dancer to live in a business world.
As a result of my bachelor’s degree in Event Management, I had the possibility to do a work placement in MoCA Shanghai as an educational event planner for the museum before moving to New York with my family.
NYFA: What do you hope to learn during your time interning at NYFA? How do you feel it will benefit you in the future?
DNR: During my time in NYFA, I hope to learn everything about assisting and supporting artists and to learn what concerns and problems they face in today’s society. I also want to learn what tools we can offer them in order to find a solution to their problems.
NYFA: What do you think it’s the role of the artist today?
DNR: I don’t think I am the right person to describe what should be the role of the artist. I do think that artists have an important role in today’s society, seeing how fast the world is moving and how the emergence and increase of technology affect us in our everyday lives; how people’s focuses have become more external and material. And sometimes it is only when we are in front of an art piece that we start to question ourselves and try to be more in contact with our inner self, asking questions that we wouldn’t otherwise.
NYFA: What are your plans for the future?
DNR: I would like to make art accessible to everyone and to help artists keep doing what they do the best: making art. I agree with something I read … “not everyone can be an artist, especially nowadays it takes a lot of courage,” but I do believe that anyone has the possibility to appreciate the arts. That is something I want to keep doing, giving the possibility for artists to make art and to let others appreciate it.
– Interview Conducted by Alicia Ehni, Program Officer at NYFA Learning
About Pablo Espinosa
Espinosa recently received his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Philosophy at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He previously worked as an assistant researcher in a museum renovation near Bogotá and as an assistant professor of Ancient Greek. He recently finished his internship at NYFA.
About Dayron Napoles Rubant
Napoles Rubant was born and raised in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, and started dancing at the age of six. He has been a soloist dancer and rehearsal director at Ayikodans dance company in Haiti; a freelance dancer at Helsinki City Theatre and Zodiak Center for New Dance, in Finland, where he also received his Bachelor’s Degree in Event Management; and an educational event planner for MoCA Shanghai. He is currently interning with NYFA.
This interview is part of the ConEdison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter #112. Subscribe to this free monthly e-mail for artist’s features, opportunities, and events.
Images: Pablo Espinosa, Image Credit: Cristina Consuegra; Dayron Napoles Rubant, Courtesy of the Artist; Courtesy of Pablo Espinosa; Courtesy of Dayron Napoles Rubant