LITERARY EVENT: From Decimas to Spoken Word

Sunday, April 16, 2023 3pm – 4:30pm

Register here: Online and In-Person

Co-presented by AfroMundo & 516 ARTS

516 ARTS and AfroMundo collective present From Decimas to Spoken Word, a literary event in the gallery during the exhibition Artists as Knowledge Carriers. It features poet, literary critic, and UNM Professor Dr. Eleuterio Santiago Díaz, who will discuss decimas, a popular form of verse found throughout the Americas traditionally employed in service of social causes. He will focus on works of the famed Santa Cruz family, who use decimas to draw attention to the plight of Afro-Peruvians. Brazilian poets Mel Adún and Guellwaar Adún will read original works that intergenerationally bridge Spanish, Portuguese, and English language spoken word traditions. They will be joined with three local youth poets: Monica Aguilar, J. Gourdin, and Leandro Pita.

From Decimas to Spoken Word, co-organized by author Maritza Pérez, is in conjunction with AfroMundo Festival: Resistance & Creativity, made possible by Bernalillo County, New Mexico Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, McCune Charitable Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the City of Albuquerque, among others. For more information about the festival, visit

516 ARTS is hosting this intergenerational public program in the context of the current exhibition Artists as Knowledge Carriers (on view through May 6), features the work of New Mexico art professors in higher education who are mentors of a new generation of artists.

Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz

Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz is a poet, professor, and literary critic. Upon graduation from the University of Puerto Rico, Santiago- Díaz worked as a teacher of Spanish, physical education and industrial arts, and as a librarian in Puerto Rican elementary schools. He earned a Master’s degree in Spanish from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico. His teaching and research center on Afro-Caribbean and Caribbean literature examined in light of theories of race, writing and modernity; Latino-Caribbean literature in the United States; and Modern Latin American poetry. Before joining UNM, he taught language and literature in the departments of Spanish and Portuguese and African and Diaspora Studies at Tulane University, at Cambridge Community College and at St. Cloud State University. Santiago-Díaz is the author of the poetry books Árbol de plaza talado en su novena edad (Ciudad de México, Ediciones del Lirio, 2021) and Breaths (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2012), the scholarly book Escritura afropuertorriqueña y modernidad (Pittsburgh, PA: IILI/University of Pittsburgh, 2007), and articles published in academic journals and anthologies such as Revista Iberoamericana, Confluencia, Bilingual Review, Revista de Literatura, História e Memória, and Marvels of the African World: Cultural Patrimony, New World Connections, and Identities (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003). Pending publication, he has several creative projects: the poetry books Kernel and The Mollusk and The Thumb, and a collection of short stories titled El Circo.

Paula Melissa Alves aka Mel Adún

Mel Adún is a writer, journalist, and a Master in Literature and Culture at the Federal University of Bahia. She is co-founder of Editora Ogum’s Publishing House in Brazil. Mel Adún is the author of A Lua Cheia de Vento (children’s book, 2015), Adumbi (children’s book, 2016); Peixe fora da Baía (short stories, 2021) and Quantas Tantas (poetry, 2021). Her writings can be found, in poetry and prose, in several anthologies inside and out of Brazil. She organized and edited the poetry anthology Quilombellas Amefricanas Vol. 1 and 2 (Ed. Ogum’s, 2020) with black women from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mozambique, United States and more. Mel Adún was chosen by the Waters; she is a daughter of Oxum and the mother of Ominirê. In her writings, black-amefrican-feminist voices can be heard, always carried by the ancestors’ power in her texts. Mel Adún is part of the Ogum’s Toques Negros Collective, Corpos Indóceis e Mentes Livres (working towards sentencereduction for incarcerated women at the Women’s Correctional Facility in Salvador, Bahia- Brazil) and is a coordinator at Kilomba - Black Brazilian Women living outside of Brazil Collective.

Marcus Gonçalves da Silva, aka Guellwaar Adún

Guellwaar Adún, has used music, writing, and socially-engaged cultural work to contribute to the vitality of contemporary Afro- Brazilian culture in his home of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil since the late 1980s. She is at the center of a multi-dimensional web of creativity and activity. Guellwaar is the co-founder, director and editor of the first Black publishing house in northeastern Brazil, Ogum’s Press, which began publishing in 2015, and grew out of the artistic and literary eponymous collective. His writings can be found, in poetry and prose, in several anthologies inside and out of Brazil. Published his poetry book desinteiro (Ed. Ogum’s, 2016) that placed him among the top contemporary poets. Guellwaar is an accomplished composer of contemporary Afro-Brazilian music. His compositions are performed by the Bloco Afro/African Brazilian Carnival group Ilê Aiyé, one of the most prestigious cultural organizations in Bahia. Three times, his compositions have earned him 1st place in the Black Music Composer Contest sponsored by Ilê Aiyê.