Emancipation and authority

If anything we can be completely sure at this point, and the lights of the analysis that has allowed us the profession, is the spirit of autonomy that persists throughout the Dominican artistic production over the last century. 


A faculty that has had varied antagonists, from the academy, foreign interventionist reprisals, and even the imposition of the market. After the execution of the tyrant Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, it offers a unique opportunity to forge a representation of "the Dominican" in a different way by means of artistic expressions that had been little developed until the mid-twentieth century. In the Dominican Republic, after three long decades of Trujillo dictatorship, the genesis of a new language began, replacing the previous production, based mainly on the exegesis of the prevailing regime and loaded with romantic and sweetened content about reality. This is where the urgency is considered as a characteristic and defining element of the art of the moment. According to Danilo De los Santos, "in the cultural space that constitutes the decade of the 60 for Dominican society, outstanding educational, literary and artistic records are produced, which although expressed at the instance of a social and ideological variation, represent -these records - the renewal and the opposition of the cultural manifestations that precede it. "4 From this moment, in different parts of the country, the creators begin to agglutinate for ideological or aesthetic reasons, depending on the predominance of one or the other reason, according to the creators or the place of development of these.

In the urban area of ​​Santo Domingo, where armed struggle and conflicts were concentrated due to the North American military invasion, groups such as the Constitutionalist Cultural Front, Art and Liberation and El Puño, among others, developed. These are those who grouped themselves for fundamentally doctrinal and political reasons to directly contribute to the social transformations that were believed necessary at that time. Those who structure these groups based on ideological motives will have an active participation in the civil war of 1965 and their work will favor the configuration of the language of the people, of war and resistance to the US military invasion, which occurred as a consequence of said popular revolt. Paula Gómez states that these groups of artists "shaped the cultural profile of the sixties, when Dominican society was shaken by strong social movements with profound consequences for their social, political and cultural development, including the April War of 1965" .5 This collectivization of creation will produce important changes in the panorama of artistic and social development of the nation.

It is these same agglutinated creators who shape this image of the people in opposition to the image of the country. I mean, although with strong patriotic connotations due to the American invasion, these creators pose from the art a response as a people, as a conglomeration of people struggling for a common horizon. It was perhaps at that time and thanks to those artists that diversification became possible, the rupture of forms and contents, the liberations of which we are witnessing today, as Daniel Tobón put it, "constantly breaking the limits of what until then it could be considered art in its searches of forms and experiences that would affect more deeply our life and our understanding of reality ".

Taken from the Book Braiding a History in Progress, Contemporary Dominican Art in the Context of the Caribbean

Sara Hermann, Historian and Art Researcher
Leon Center Advisor

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