Carlos Maria Romero A.k.a. Atabey (Colombia, 1979) is a Margate-based multidisciplinary artist with a background in dance and live art, working in the fields of performing and visual arts, heritage and architectural activism, pedagogy and curating. Maria Romero is a member of Vividero Colectivo, a Colombian group of multidisciplinary artists and architects revealing narratives in which historically marginalised bodies, social practices and architectural goods can be (re-)claimed as cultural heritage.
In 2016 their collaboration with Studio Sam Causer, Blushing Pavilion –a temporary exhibition in a seaside shelter presenting 250 years of the intersection between architecture, seaside culture and sexuality in Margate– was featured in the book New Architects 3, launched at The British Pavilion during the Venice Architecture Bienal, and presented at Without Borders LGBTQ+ Archive, Libraries, Museums & Special Collections Conference in London. With the same collaborator they have since 2015 developed research and successful associated strategies to promote a long stretch of historic public space that have suffered decades of underinvestment and who they called Margate Coastal Park, and which has already been written in several aspects of local planning and its celebration, which Maria Romero curated last September was backed by more than 2000 visitors.
Also in 2016 in partnership with dancer Ted Rogers they created for people aged 50+ Vogue-Chi, a therapeutic practice mixing principles of Voguing and Tai Chi, that organically evolved into a multigenerational queer and allies safe space for self-expression and coming together. Vogue-Chi facilitates a spectrum of spiritual principles historically developed by LGBTQI+ people to engage positively in life and overcome institutionalised oppression, invisibilization and abuse. Since its start Vogue-Chi has reached carers, school teachers, queer young persons and a variety of people with different cultural backgrounds; and in 2017 is part of the programme of Hiroshima (Barcelona); Queer Fun (an offshoot of doctoral research about Duckie’s work with marginalised people and hidden queer histories) at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London; Margate Women’s Institute; the live exhibition Trajal Harrell: Hoochie Koochie at The Barbican; Vooruit (Gent); STRETCH Festival (Berlin).
In 2014 Maria Romero co-curated with Inti Guerrero (Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art at TATE) the exhibition Josephine Baker & Le Corbusier in Rio - a transatlantic affair at the Museo de Arte do Rio de Janeiro. From 2009 to 2012 Maria Romero was a lecturer in Colombia at the Department of Visual Arts at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and at the Performing Arts Department of Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, and was the curator of The Universities Platform for Dance and The Universities Festival of Contemporary Dance, and designed the Dance BA of Atlantico Public University in Barranquilla.
Maria Romero was in 2016 as an associated artist during On Margate Sands, an Archives and Access programme led by Tate, Britain and Turner Contemporary and worked during 4 months with a group of young persons from Kent Foster Care Association. Maria Romero has mentored other artists and delivered workshops for different age groups in educational and professional frames like University of Lincoln, De Montfort University in Leicester, Hochschule der Künste Bern, or during the participatory research process for a public art commission by NEON at Merhyr Tydfil, Wales, when Maria Romero facilitated Make public space public again! Or how to embody an architecture of friendship?
Maria Romero studied Dance and Choreography, and Government and International Affairs between Germany and Colombia, and graduated with Laurée Merit from the Interdisciplinary MA in Live Art & Theatre at the National University of Colombia.
Maria Romero’s performances, art works, contributions and co-creations has been shown in mainly but not exclusively in Europe and the Americas including: Galería Santa Fé, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bogotá; Fonderie Darling, Montreal; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; La Poderosa, Hiroshima, Espai Erre, Barcelona; ETOPIA - Centre for Arts & Technology, Zaragoza, and ENSEMS - Festival for Contemporary Music of Valencia; Opera House Tokyo; Cirque Royal, Brussels; Museu Serralves, Porto; Uferstudios Berlin; Il faut brûler pour briller, Paris; Moderna Dans Theatre, Stockholm; Arco Madrid; Abrons Arts Center during Performa13 and Emergency Glitter, and The Spectrum, New York; Arsenic, Lausanne; Réunion and Tanzhaus Zürich; and in the UK at Turner Contemporary, RESORT Studios, and in London at Vogue Fabrics, Sadler’s Wells, David Roberts Art Foundation, The Tanks/TATE, The Serpentine Gallery, and Highgate Cemetery during Good Grief, a series of events organised by The Architecture Foundation.