Dey Hernández-Vázquez, Collaborator, bio + work

deyDey Hernández-Vázquez is an Architect, Teaching Artist, and Puppeteer. Issues of race, identity, language, and community are fundamental to her work. She experiences first-hand the power of the creative process in the lives of youth. She designs and facilitates art workshops with AgitArte, a non-profit organization dedicated to artistic and popular education projects in marginalized communities. Dey is also an artist and puppeteer of the radical workers’ theater collective, Papel Machete. Dey designs and constructs giant puppets, puppetry booths, and shadow shows.

Dey is also a dancer with Danza Organica and recently did a residency at Jacob’s Pillow. Here’s a recent write up of their current work, Melaza.

Feministing interviewed her on her work in 2016.


0. The water bearer / La portadora de agua – video projection and performance 

[video of performance]

MEDIUM: video projection and puppet mask performance (with water)
DIMENSIONS: 10’X8’X8’(distance to projector)

Creator and performer Dey Hernández-Vázquez
Video concept: Dey Hernández-Vázquez
Video work: Helina Metaferia
Video editing: Pampi

Note: Performance can be adapted to most spaces.



A reflection on Billie Holiday’s haunting “Strange Fruit,” this performance juxtaposes the image and sound to convey the strange violent sterility of whiteness. Splicing the violence of deforestation, falling snow in one’s backyard, Billie’s emotive singing face, the tin bucket, and a plastic jug emptying cleanest water, the performance relates the masked black laundress hanging white articles of clothing, mourning and seething the blood of black laboring bodies bleached.

Video taken at event We Create ! Celebrating Women in the Arts 2015

Produced by: Marsha Parilla

Performance Assistants: Wendyam Emerson and McKersin Previlus

1. Con Papel Machete Exhibit at Villa Victoria, Boston, MA, Feb 2014

Image of Dey setting up at Villa Victoria showcasing Papel Machete
Image of Dey setting up at Villa Victoria showcasing Papel Machete


“PAPEL MACHETE, a radical collective from Puerto Rico, put on their very first multi-media exhibition. Their performances employ puppets, masks, objects, and music to denounce exploitation while supporting the struggles of the working class… we’re in for an engagement that delves into their theater of resistance,” writes Nabeela Vega for Boston Hassle. Link to Press (with video of exhibit)

2. HerStory, Part III: “Finding our way” Spontaneous Celebrations, Jamaica Plain, MA Choreography by Marsha Parilla of Danza Organica

VIDEO: [Please view 00:35-01:15, then 4:42-6:02]

Dey as Effigy of Oppression Puppet, March 2014

ey33. Ella of “A Prayer for Our Prophets” in the Art and Soul of Chibuzo, a collaboration with Akili Jamal Haynes, 2013





Dey as Freddie Mac at HONK! 2013
Dey as Freddie Mac at HONK! 2013

4. Papel Machete at Honkfest!

DESCRIPTION: As part of the eighth installation of ‘Honk Fest’ a parade of social justice oriented street bands, Papel Machete joined City Life/Vida Urbana performing the puppet heads of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Count BanKula to participate in a massive March to denounce the expropriation and other practices of these institutions against the working class. Accompanied by the radical street band of Brooklyn, NYC, Rude Mechanical Orchestra.




dey55. We’ll Fight with You! 2013

DESCRIPTION: Inspired by the origins of Toy Theater and the American tradition of role playing/board games, we present a show about the struggle of housing activists against foreclosures and displacement. Using real stories and actual people of the campaigns lead by City Life/Vida Urbana in the Boston area, the short play presents situations and lived experiences of the movement. The result is a mix of empathy, hate and love for one the main pillars of The United States of America, private property. Performed for the first time in the 9th GSW International Toy Theater Festival in St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, NYC in 2013.


Loisaida Cantastoria by Papel Machete

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 11.48.45 AM6. Loisaida


Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 11.53.28 AM
Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 11.54.06 AM
Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 11.54.25 AMScreen shot 2014-08-03 at 11.55.09 AM

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