The first exhibition concerning the arts of the Caribbean took place in Puerto Rico at 1952. 


By force, it must be admitted that it was reduced to the presence of Trinidad and Tobago, then a British colony. In 1989, Les Magiciens de la terre (The Magi of the Earth), organized at the Georges Pompidou Center by Jean Hubert Martin, hosted 101 artists from Africa, Asia, the Far East and Latin America, with little Antillean participation. On the occasion of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, the exhibition 1492/1992, A new look at the Caribbean, traveled among the different island institutions, after being inaugurated at the Espacio Carpeaux Center in Paris. It exhibited "the most representative facets of Creole aesthetics" 9 with 118 works from 11 countries. In addition to this itinerant, exhibitions began to take place in western centers.

Exclusion, fragmentation and paradise, insular Caribbean invited Soucy de Pellerano, who showed Encounter of beasts (1996) and two sculptures without title; Tony Capellán proposed three installations of 1996: protective mantle (condoms, thread and wood), the barrier of modesty and the sacks of oblivion; Marcos Lora Read, Pick up the Phone (audio installation); Pascal Meccariello, With the windows open, Winery of effluvia and Source of ambiguities; Jorge Pineda, Alta Gracia (1997, installation of rag dolls) and Casta Casa (xilography of 1994); Belkis Ramírez, Of the same wood (1994) and The last stake (1994); Fernando Varela, Scetrum (1996) and Baja misa (1997).

The interest aroused, both by these collective and by the biennials, multiplied the events: Infinite Island, Contemporary Caribbean Art takes place at 2007, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, under the direction of Tumelo Mosaka. Dominican photographers occupied a special place there, with the collective Shampoo, which made reference in D'La Mona Plaza (2004) to the illegal and dangerous crossing of their fellow citizens who went into exile in Puerto Rico via the Canal de la Mona. . This work gives ironically to this risky trip thanks to all the details of the tourist complexes that in recent times have been developed in the Dominican Republic to accommodate mass tourism. The interior passions (2001), by Polibio Díaz, showed with humor intimate scenes that translate the desires of the marginalized classes under the influence of Western models, as well as the insular daily life of these peoples in After the Nap. For his part, Fausto Ortiz captured the ephemeral and anonymous silhouettes of the emigrants in Caminante (2005) or in Shadows of steel (2003). The works of Raquel Paiewonsky played an intermediary role between photography - with her portraits Sowed and Ima Ima diptych (2005) - and the installations Levitando a un pie (2003), Afro Issue and Mambrú (2006), by Jorge Pineda. The drawings Mad girls, of the latter, also attracted attention. Among the 45 guest artists, we must regret the absence of Tony Capellán, without whom we can not speak of Caribbean art.

Kreyol Factory, whose subtitle is The artists question Creole identities (in Paris, La Villete, 2009) claims the Antillean inheritances. In the catalog, the quotes of Maryse Condé, Aimé Césaire, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphal Confiant, Frantz Fanon, Ernest Pépin, Chiqui Vicioso and Edwige Danticat confirm it. Kreyol Factory was organized around several axes: "Travesía", that counted on the emblematic work of Marcos Lora Read, Five car-roses for history; "The confusion of the genres", with De MaR in worse, of Belkis Ramírez; "Africa, imagined community", "How black?", With Afro Issue I, by Jorge Pineda; After the siesta, Desired Lady and her knickknacks, and Like my house none, by Polibio Díaz. The space occupied by these works in the exhibition accredited Dominican production and constituted a whole world through which the viewer passed and which gave him the sensation of aspiring. The other sections consisted of "Islands under influence"; "The new worlds", with Mar Caribe, by Tony Capellán; the Men Muffler and Battleship Series, by Límber Vilorio. Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, in The Museum of the District of New York, where Jorge Pineda hung the drawing Bozales to cross the border (2002), in the Queens Museum of Art and in The Studio Museum of Harlem in 2012-2013; then in Miami at 2014, it is the most recent event.

This recognition gave rise to individual exhibitions, outside the galleries: Jorge Pineda, Postales desde el paraíso, at Casa de América, in Madrid (2002); After all, tomorow is another day, in the IVAM of Valencia (2013); The practice of utopia, at the Clément Foundation (February-March 2014); Mambrú, in UNESCO, Paris (May of 2014). Polibio Díaz exhibited Doña Desire and its trinkets and As my house none in the UNESCO, also in the same dates.

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

Michele Dalmace, Critic and art researcher.
Professor at the Michel de Montaigne University, Bordeaux

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