Iceberg in sight in the Caribbean Sea

An elephant bobbed
 on a spider's web
 and how I saw that it was sustained
 he went to find his comrade 

The language of art is ambiguous. The words that make it up are what they are, their opposites, and the long way that goes from one to the other. Many times, these do not necessarily have to do with the concept emitted, but rather with the sound they contribute to the phrase; with the elegance, superfluous or not, that they give to the discourse and so on to infinity, or until they find the other shore. The truth is that in their autonomy, these words constantly challenge the imagination of the sender and the receiver, and turn us into polyglots of parallel and new languages, unintelligible many times, which nevertheless have the same structure as our mother tongues. Many of these words are invented, but without time to think about them, we instantly incorporate them and accommodate our speeches, with the conviction that thereby, to be carriers of knowledge, which assures us a niche in the castles of the "Cutting Edge Lobbies ”, Whose movable walls, including a moat, a dragon and a princess to be rescued, are installed in art fairs and biennials, and define the new maps of power. And thus, contemporary can mean actuality, but it also defines a period of art that inhabits margins full of inaccuracies. Of data, dates and events wrapped in an intellectual haze that produces an enormous pleasure to thicken, although from time to time a ray of light passes through it. In fact, we do not know if that period is over, but we have heard of the prize that will be won by whoever "discovers" the word that designates the new thing that is coming, the new thing that follows it. The head of our beloved grandfather Duchamp has already been offered on a gold platter, as a premise, to combine it with all possible variations (post-this, post-that), officially unleashing the race towards that new word, still unknown, towards that new "Dorado".

Two elephants were swinging
on a spider's web
and how they saw that it was sustained
they went to look for their comrade

When the term "contemporary" is added to other words full of similar ambiguities, such as: "contemporary Dominican art" we find a label that can help us quickly and apparently identify an element that many perceive as amorphous in a space equally amorphous. This label is preceded by at least two more labels, contemporary Caribbean art and before, contemporary Latin American art. The amorphous, the amorphous, the amorphous. A kind of tower of Babel, where we try to invent a common language to homogenize all these cultures in time and space. As we see this label, it changes with real ease the last adjective that composes it and before our eyes it is transformed into exotic and distant elements, although sometimes they are found around the corner.

In our label, we have already reflected on different meanings of contemporary. We are not going to reflect on the first word, art, a topic that arches the eyebrows of many, perhaps because every day it reveals and rebels with the same ferocity and ingenuity with which they change things every day. And defining it, trying to reduce it conceptually becomes almost impossible. She refuses to be in the corset of those who come to understand her when she is already another, because those who build her day by day are the ones who take her to always rethink me. So, seen the seen, we prefer to jump to the last, Dominican. It has been argued that we are built on the basis of denial, others say that our humanity is much broader than this simplistic and reductionist vision, which has been politically used as a strategy to submit through self-contempt to the individuals we use this name.

In a time of fascist nationalisms, to have an approximate image of what we are, we would have to analyze the political thoughts that the human beings that make up this band of contradictions have built. We would have to review our poetry, literature, theater, music, architecture, folklore, even the superficial and forceful statements generated by tourism promotion campaigns, with their frivolous and resounding statements that, full of excessive optimism, seek to define us. But this analysis should not be done from a single perspective. It is mandatory to have many looks, many different and contradictory voices on these issues. But these voices must be endowed with knowledge and education. Only through education can this system be sabotaged, which built a population that cannot find itself because the infernal noise that surrounds us on every corner does not let us think and also has our ears broken. But it is an education that must come from everywhere. Dialogues that begin at home and end at school, or the other way around. Universities that in the theses of their students keep the knowledge and culture of the nation, and that can be discussed and enjoyed by the researchers who follow them. In other words, information and training are the fundamental elements of a structure based on honesty.

Three elephants were swinging
on a spider's web
and how they saw that it was sustained
they went to look for their comrade

We return then to the concept "Art / contemporary / Dominican" then some questions arise: What is that? The art produced on the political / geographical space designated as the Dominican Republic? The art produced by the people whose identity card defines it as belonging to that country? The art that they generate, those that in their proposals discover us the local panorama? The art that people do today or for two decades? To all these questions of false or true, we can answer even if we do not know the answer, we can take risks and fall back into that system of sympathy that is nothing more than a self sabotage to our respect and sense of responsibility, only a construction that adds up, that makes us discover, like the elephants that in the spider web an infinite number ... But the answers to these questions then we have to develop them. Investigate, discuss, these answers, I say are the tips of the iceberg the peak of honesty.

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