Through the work of Dominican American visual artists Scherezade Garcia and Firelei Báez, Unpacking Hispañola re-envisions the processes that construct historical narratives, racial subjectivity, and gender roles. Garcia and Baez create images that complicate the traditional distinctions between myths and historical ‘facts’, questioning the very nature of the historical narrative and its processes of creation. Channeling their own racialized experiences in the United States, the artists explore both Dominican and U.S. African-derived culture and history, challenging constructed racial hierarchies and inequalities in both countries.
Grounded in similar political, social, and historical issues, Garcia and Baez create artworks that are instrumental in representing the diasporic transformations of Dominican immigrants in the United States. When living in the United States, Dominican Americans experience a different hegemonic system of racial classification and often redefine their own racial identity. Baez and Garcia blur and exaggerate dominant racial and gendered boundaries to recreate a specifically Dominican American subjectivity in an alternative space that exposes and critiques pervasive and global inequalities.
Curated by Abigail Lapin Dardashti
Part of the program for the 20th Annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium, learn more here.
Download the press release here.
Left: Scherezade Garcia, Ulysses Heureux, The Black Emperor, 2003
Right: Firelei Baez, Retablo (España en las Americas), 2014