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Firelei Báez | Dominican Republic

Born in 1980, in Santiago, Dominican Republic,
Lives and works in New York, USA

Racial identity through the prism of gender is one of the main themes of the works of the Dominican artist. The use of forms, colours and patterns to represent the skin colours of her characters brings down racial barriers and shifts toward a melting pot fraught with hybridization and discoveries despite immigrations and thanks to increasing exchanges.

One of her points of focus is also the incorporation of elements of popular culture to her work such as the study of hair and hairdos, which carry traditions and culture. The identities of the individuals she depicts are no longer tied to their skin colour or their appearance and do not bear any definition because they are too multiple to be stigmatized within one category.

“My works consist in paintings, drawings, and prints which interrogate my physical being, my personal history and the Caribbean folklore. The Caribbean folklore allows malleability in the creation of one’s self” explains Firelei Báez.

Firelei Báez holds a B.F.A from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, USA (2004) ; and a MFA from Hunter College, New York, USA (2010).

She is artist-in-residence at the Lower East Side Printshop of New York (2012) thanks to the Keyholder Residency.

Individual shows by Firelei Báez

Firelei Báez in Nunc Contemporary in Anvers, Belgium (2013) ; Mastering Metamorphosis: You Be at the Sheppard Gallery of Reno, USA (2012) ; Not Even Unalterable Limitations at the Richard Heller Gallery of New York, USA (2012) and Better Left Unsaid at Kaffe 1664 in New York , USA (2009).

Collective exhibitions

Corporeal Contours at the Community Folk Art Center of Syracuse, USA (2013) ; Winter Workshop at Wave Hill, Bronx, New York, USA (2013) ; Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, USA (2012-2013) ; Caribe Now : Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Diaspora at the Nathan Cummings Foundation of New York, USA (2012-2013) ; Disillusions: Gendered Visions of the Caribbean and its Diasporas at the Middlesex County College Art Gallery of New Jersey and the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery  in New-York (2011) ; The African Continuum at the HQ of the UN in New York (2011) ; The (S) Files – El Museo’s 6th Biennial at El Museo del Barrio in New York (2011) ; Edouard Glissant: Inhabit his Name at the Recess Space in New York (2011) ; Drawing Conclusions at the Taller Boricua of New York (2010) ; Hair Tactics at the New Jersey City Museum (2010) and Supercluster at Praxis International Art in Miami (2010).

She is recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award in Painting (2010) as well as of The Jaque and Natasha Gelman Award for Painting (2004).