Oju inu Yàrá
a beautiful encounter of voices, bodies and whales

 in process

In the piece Oju inu Yárá…, an altar is installed for all the women and men who have died at sea. A collective ritual is instigated around this altar, as an evocation of life. In Oju inu Yárá… the myth of the Abayomi dolls (a term which means “beautiful encounter”) is interwoven with the life experience of young immigrants in Spain, those with irregular status, who have come from the Congo, Cameroon, Morocco, Liberia, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

 When Bay, a young man from Senegal, was traversing the Atlantic Ocean on a barge, an Abayomi, from deep beneath the waves, appeared at his feet. The Abayomis were rag dolls made by enslaved women in order to soothe the tears and pain of their children. The women would rip up their clothes and make the dolls with six knots, and for each knot they would say a prayer, a wish and a blessing, as a symbol of love, protection, joy and resistance.

 In these crossings of endless borders, Oju inu Yárá… restores longed-for futures, amid a sea of voices from the present and the past. The Abayomi dolls, this time made out of the hair of those bodies involved in the process of creation, summon the audience to a collective song, to sing in pleasure and protest. Oju inu Yará… is the first instalment of The Flight of Hypothalamus, a project consisting of research, creation and social action that combines the lives of young people with irregular immigration status and the song of migratory birds.

 In Oju inu Yárá… a young man from Senegal took seven days, on board a barge, to get to Spain. The whales delayed his boat with the swishing of their tails. Oju inu Yárá is a “beautiful encounter” of voices, bodies and whales.

Concept / direction: José Ramón Hernández

Dramaturgy: Yohayna Hernández / José Ramón Hernández

Production Management: JHS producciones / Osikán - vivero de creación contemporánea

With the collaboration of : Clotilde Monkangere (El Congo) /Abdel Azis (Camerún) /Elichy Melanie (Costa de Marfil) / Adnane Houmirat (Marruecos) / Prince Barclay (Liberia) Saber Er Rossafy (Marruecos) / Djovaní Koné (Costa de Marfil) / Bay (Senegal)



  • During the first half of 2021, as part of the research for this project, several Imagination Laboratories took place with adolescents and young adults who have irregular immigration status in Spain, in collaboration with the Centro de Acogida Mejía de Lequerica and the CEPI (Immigrants’ Centre) of Arganzuela, Madrid. This first stage of the research has been supported by a residency at the Condeduque Centre for Contemporary Culture, as well as the Desvío programme by hablarenarte and Planta Alta Madrid.