George Emelio Sanchez
George Emilio Sanchez is a writer, performance artist and social justice activist. He was born in Los Angeles, California, raised in Orange County, and became a New Yorker in 1978. He began making original performance pieces in 1992, beginning with Chief Half-Breed in the Land of In-Between at Dance Theater Workshop, which today is New York Live Arts. Beginning in 2019, he inaugurated a performance series called, “Performing the Constitution.” The first installment, XIV, premiered at Dixon Place in 2019. This piece focused on the 1946 Mendez v. Westminster Appellate Court case that led to the elimination of the California segregation laws that prevented Mexican students from attending public schools in Orange County, California. george continues to serve as a Social Practice Artist-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center, and has served as the Performance Director for Emergenyc for 15 years. Emergenyc is a program that investigates the intersection of arts and activism. He continues to teach at the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, and was named the inaugural recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship at The MacDowell in 2021. For his artistic research for In the Court of the Conqueror Sanchez received a Masters in Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law out of the University of Oklahoma in August 2021. george’s work has been presented by theaters and museums in over 25 states and has received support from the National Performance Network, the Fulbright Program (Peru), New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. He has been an artist-in-residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Abrons Arts Center, Dixon Place, Dance Theater Workshop, Pregones Theater, The MacDowell, Tigertail Productions (Miami, FL.), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX.), Centro Cultural de la Casa (San Diego), and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (San Antonio, TX.). george resides in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and has three daughters.
The next solo performance work will be the second installment of the “Performing the Constitution” series. In the Court of the Conqueror, revolves around the 200 year-old history of Supreme Court rulings that have diminished the Tribal Sovereignty of Native Nations in the U.S. Part historical, part autobiographical, the piece also interlaces his experiences of growing up in an Ecuadorian immigrant household navigating generational trauma and indigenous identity. The performance will integrate, and address, a number of landmark Supreme Court cases that will provide an historical context for the current governmental relationship between the three sovereign entities of this republic. The work will also meld together a personal narrative into the larger cultural landscape that will include the artistry and scholarship of indigenous legal scholars, artists and activists. “Performing the Constitution” is sanchez’s intention to create performance narratives that point to, and highlight, the critical importance of acknowledging how the creation and practice of Law demonstrates how indigenous cultures and communities of color live and exist in this country. It also demonstrates how law and government have an historical and legal framework that contains an inconsistent and contradictory lineage. Ultimately, Sanchez’s work serves as an artistic outlet to echo and affirm how it is the Voice and Experience of Indigenous people and communities of color that have the greatest impact on the conception of who we are as a nation.