Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2021

Modesto Flako Jimenez

A profile portrait of Modesto Flako Jimenez, his face highlighted in green and red colors, wearing a black collared shirt.
Photo by Crichton Atkinson.
  • Actor, Writer, Educator
  • Born 1982, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Lives in Bushwick, NY
  •  
  • Additional Information
  • oyegroup.org

The bedrock of assistance that the funding provided proved to be both life-changing and extremely essential to my practice for the year, as well as granting me emotional breathing room in order to fully conduct myself as an artist and human being.

- Modesto Flako Jimenez, January 10, 2022

Biography

Modesto Flako Jimenez is a Dominican-born, Bushwick-raised, multi-hyphenate artist. As a poet, playwright, educator, actor, producer, and director his work exists in and explores the intersections of identity, language, mediums, cultures, and communities found in his personal life and beyond.

Jimenez’s art addresses the social and political changes affecting the Latin American communities in his Bushwick neighborhood. His 2020 play, Taxilandia, draws on his nine years of experience driving a taxicab in New York City and his documentation of conversations with passengers, residents, locals, and immigrants. He has worked with companies all over the country, including La Jolla Playhouse and New York Theater Workshop, to develop local versions of Taxilandia specific to different cities. The piece is devised in three phases, beginning with a series of virtual salons with local artists whose work intersects with gentrification and ending with live presentations and an interactive gallery.

Jimenez’s performances include Taxilandia, which premiered virtually with La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA (2020); ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn at Abrons Art Center, New York, NY (2018); Last Night at The Palladium at 3LD Art & Technology Center, New York, NY (2016); and Conversation Pt 1: How to Make it in Black America at JACK, Brooklyn, NY (2015). He has produced three festivals with Oye Group: Ghetto Hors d’Oeuvres, One Catches Light, and Oye! Avant-Garde Night. He was awarded a Princess Grace Foundation Works in Progress residency (2019), a MAP Fund Grant for Taxilandia (2019), the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors Outstanding Solo Performance Award (2017), a Princess Grace Foundation Theater Honoraria (2016), and the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors Best Ensemble Award (2015).

Jimenez attended Bennington College. He founded and is the Artistic Director of Oye Group. Jimenez also works as a Community Programmer at The Bushwick Starr and a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, and leads poetry and theater workshops for teens through Oye Group.

Artist Statement

I’ve always loved creating DOPE work with DOPE people! My work is often collaborative and multidisciplinary. I am interested in exploring the connections between people, places, and their histories. As an artist, I feel my goal is to bring people together to start a dialogue over political and social issues critical to our community’s growth.

- December 2020

A person dressed in a white shirt, jeans and red shoes jumps on stage with their hands upwards in joy. The backheads of the audience can be seen staring towards the checkered stage floor.

Performance still from ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn, at Abrons Art Center, New York, 2018. Photo by Skye Morse-Hodgson.

A person a gray and black hooded shirt, wearing VR goggles.

Performance still from Esperpento, at 3LD Art & Technology Center, New York, 2018. Photo by Skye Morse-Hodgson.

A person sits on the roof of a car with their hands open wide Behind him sits a collage containing various flags and graffiti.

Performance still from Taxilandia, at Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn, 2019. Photo by Skye Morse-Hodgson.

Excerpt from Taxilandia, at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, 2020.

Excerpt from ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn at Abrons Arts Center, New York, 2018.

A person holding a mic stands on stage next to a figure wearing an Elmo character costume made of orange crepe paper. Behind them on a small screen are typed the words

Performance still from Furry! / La Furia!, at The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn, 2016. Performers: Modesto Flako Jimenez and Olander Big O Wilson. Photo by Radiosilence.

Two figures sit onto a desk situated on a yellow illuminated stage. Behind them a projection of a railway surrounded by trees.

Performance still from Conversation: How to Make It in Black America Pt. 1, at JACK, Brooklyn, 2015. Performers: Modesto Flako Jimenez and Roya Marsh. Photo by Kevin Torres.

Excerpt fromYoleros, at The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn, 2015. Performers: Sully Bonnelly, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Mathia Vargas.