Title: NIÁGARA — A Pan-American Story
Start Date: July 23, 2015
End Date: July 26, 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Description: NIÁGARA — A Pan-American Story was commissioned for the TORONTO 2015 arts and culture festival PANAMANIA, inspired by PANAMANIA TO2015’s theme of ‘Aquaculture’, celebrating the culminating year of the United Nations International Decade for Action – “Water for Life”.
In 1824 José María Heredia, a twenty-year old poet and revolutionary was exiled, forcing him to escape for his life from his native Cuba. Written on the edge of an enormous precipice on the Canadian side of the Falls, José María Heredia wrote a cathartic poem which immediately immortalized him as “The First Poet of the Americas” – indeed, the father of Romantic poetry in the Spanish language. It is studied and cherished to this day by every Cuban and generations of Latin Americans, who (along with the rest of the world), are compelled to visit Niagara Falls as a first stop in North America – taking on an almost cultural pilgrimage. For Canadians – while there is a plaque to Heredia at Table Rock – this cherished Cuban connection is a little known fact.