The Project

CISLANDERUS is cultural project created by Thenesoya V. Martín De la Nuez in collaboration with photographer Aníbal Martel; a five-year research and fieldwork throughout Louisiana to find hundreds of descendants who still recognized themselves as Canarian. The result of our work is a traveling photographic exhibition, currently at Louisiana State Museum, that shows an extremely complex view of this vanishing community, half way between nostalgia, memory and desire.

Thenesoya has also produced and directed a short documentary film about this community, The Canarian Descendants in Louisiana (2018), that reunites and portrays the stories of the Canarian descendants scattered in Louisiana: from Delacroix Island, Yscloskey and Shell Beach down the bayous, to Saint Bernard Parish, the epicenter of Louisiana Canarian heritage, and north New Orleans, the area of Valenzuela and Baton Rouge, Bayou Lafourche and Galveztown.

Video-essay showed at CISLANDERUS' first exhibition, Casa de Colón Museum, Gran Canaria (2016). Voices of Canarian descendants of Louisiana talking in Spanish from the Canary Islands.

A Unique Community

Between 1778 and 1783, around 2100 Canary Islanders traveled to what was then the Spanish owned Louisiana territory to defend the recently acquired land from the British troops. Entire families embarked on a journey towards a wetland full of marshes and at the mercy of frequent floods. Four Canary Islander settlements were established around New Orleans. While Louisiana ceased to be a Spanish colony in 1803, the Spanish language from the Canary Islands has been preserved to the present day, albeit in a reduced manner and in danger of disappearing.

Fieldwork Images (2013-2018)

Interviewing Canarian descendant Dolores (Lola) Molero, Shell Beach, Louisiana. Photo by Aníbal Martel.
Working at Casa de Colón Museum for CISLANDERUS' first exhibition. Gran Canaria, 2016.
Thenesoya V. Martín conducting fieldwork in Louisiana. Upper left, at Louisiana State University Archaeological Archive. Down left, with Canarian descendant Tini Perez-Landry. Canarian TV interview during CISLANDERUS' first exhibition, Columbus Museum.

Traveling Exhibition (2016-2020)

Capitol Park Museum, Louisiana State Museum, Baton Rouge (October 2019-March 2020)

The Cabildo, Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans (December 2018-June 2019)

Washington DC, US (November-December 2017)

Casa de Colón, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (June-August 2016)