Throughout the years, I have heard several folk tales of a king in disguise touring his kingdom. I think that the first version I heard as a child was part of the One thousand and one nights stories. The king was curious to know what his people thought of him, so wearing a poor man’s clothing, he went out to the countryside and learned a few important lessons. Another version I remember is about Siddhartha, the prince that was isolated in his parents palace, surrounded by beauty, luxury, and pleasure, until one day he went out of the palace and discovered the miseries of the real world. The experience took him on the path to enlightenment and he became the very popular Buddha.
During the period that I lived by myself in Las-Terrenas, I was inspired by these stories. Although I never was, or pretended to be a king, I became “Oro de la Fundacion” , a “public figure” in Agua-Sabrosa. Also, whenever I traveled elsewhere in the countryside with my “Jeepeta”, I was immediately tagged as a rich “Gringo”, attracting beggars, opportunist ladies, and higher prices for everything I ordered. Looking to lower my profile and experience the more “sencillo”, simple unaffected by tourism, Dominican life, I put on my “Mochilero” vagabond costume. I felt such a relief whenever I left my Jeepeta in the parking near my house. I traveled the country with the Gua-Gua (public transportation in the D.R). Sitting in the back of the pick up truck with the “real people”, being squeezed between old women and babies, I felt like tripping in another kingdom, with different dialect, habits and values. Arriving at villages or towns with the gua-gua, carrying only a little bag on my back, made an entirely different impact. I was still “White”, but definitely not rich, and it was a great introduction to some great adventures. Some people invited me to their homes, offered me food and bed, took me to their favorite places, and to visit their friends and family. Others just told me their life story. I’ve heard mysterious, funny, dramatic and even tragic stories. I hope to sit one day and write them down, before I forget.
As I came back from one of those trips I painted: “Las aventuras de un rey”, the adventures of a king.
I wait patiently for these traveling days to come back. I will put on my Mochila and go out searching for colorful adventures.
This work was created by Bojukero and Pescador, a collaboration between two previous identities; Oro Pescador and Oro Bojukero.
Oro (Spanish for Gold) has been my Dominican name and principal identity since I arrived to the D.R. Pescador means a Fisherman. As I became an avid spear fisherman and wanted to document my experience and inspiration. Bojukero is named after “La Bojukera”, a fertile valley near the village of Agua Sabrosa, Samana-D.R., where the locals cultivate the land and grow their food.
While ‘Pescador’ belongs to the ocean,’Bojukero’ is of the land, and I loved combining their characters.