Dominican Contemporary Art

The twenty-sixth exhibition of the Eduardo León Jimenes Art Competition has already opened. The results of eleven months of work by artists, curators, juries and the León Center teams are reflected in the twenty-three works in the Temporary Exhibition Hall of the cultural center.

The starting point of this 26 edition of the contest were the bases, presented by the 27 of November of 2015. As a novelty, the entire registration process was digital. This facilitated the reception of proposals from resident artists outside of Santiago and the country. The artists completed a form on the website for the pieces submitted to the contest along with sketches of the projects of works to be made and images of some previous works, which helped the jury to know the work path of the artist. With the closing of registrations, the March 18 of 2016, the work of the jury began. José Roca, Colombian curator; Alanna Lockward, Dominican curator, writer and researcher; and Guadalupe Álvarez, curator, researcher, art critic and Cuban teacher based in Ecuador; They made the selection among the proposals presented by 171 individual artists and 11 collectives.

On April 7, the list of selected artists was announced: Guadalupe Casasnovas, Norian Cruz, Carlos De Leon, Elvin Díaz, Joan Manuel Díaz Reynoso, Wendy P. Espinal, Tatiana Fernández Geara, Gina Goico, George Heinsen, Quisqueya Henríquez, Javier María, Natalia Ortega Gámez, Fausto Ortiz, Andrea Ottenwalder, Raquel Paiewonsky, David Pérez Karmadavis, Ernesto Rodríguez, Maurice Sánchez, Dhimas Santos, Karol Starocean, Mencía Zagarella, Juan Alfonso Zapata.

Thematic axes and exhibition

In the exhibition, open to the public of the 21 from October of 2016 to the 19 of February of 2017, the thematic axes identified by the jury during the selection process are reflected: Identity / Exclusion; Public Space / The Vernacular; Intimacy / Body; Personal / Collective Memories; Landscape; Crafts / The Popular / Participation. This categorization is linked to the jury's recognition of the multiplicity of discourses and the different processes of artistic production in the Dominican contemporaneity, as well as the significant increase in proposals that critically evaluate their reality.

The bases of this contest separated, in addition, two processes that until now were united: the opening of the exhibition and the award. In this edition, the award will be made on the 19 of January of 2017. For that date, an intense program of socio-cultural animation and reflective activities will have taken place around the selected artists and collectives and the twenty-three works exhibited.

New dimensions

To this 26 Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, there are other lines of progress. To the contest of works, four transversal dimensions are added that touch different areas of creative, curatorial or investigative work, and that facilitate the inclusion of other actors in the artistic process.

The Curatorial Dimension He joined the contest with the intention of strengthening the training of the participating artists and giving them the opportunity to have their works with all the possibilities of achieving the highest quality. On the other hand, it allows young curators to practice curatorial practice with artists in different stages of development. The two institutional curators were joined by Yina Jiménez and Laura Bisonó, trained in the program Healing Caribbean, which developed the León Center together with the Cultural Center of Spain in Santo Domingo.

The Critical Dimension and Research develops texts about artists and their works, based on research and generating critical opinions about creative processes. Two other graduates from Healing Caribbean participate in this dimension. Luis Graham Castillo and Leandro Sánchez will focus on criticism as a genre, taking into account the current situation in which we find ourselves, but without neglecting for this theories elaborated on the subject by previous specialists.

The Caribbean Dimension is dedicated to the residence and development of a work or body of work by a Caribbean artist within the contest. Blue Curry, a contemporary artist from the Bahamas, who has worked on topics related to the Caribbean and the different perspectives that have been developed in other parts of the world on this geographical space, has been invited.

In the Mobile Dimension, artists and collectives will work works that will move through the city of Santiago and different parts of the country to get the art contest to other audiences and spaces. The colective MODAFOCA and the artists Poteleche and Mediopeso will make their works in November 2016 on some structures placed in the perimeter fence of the Leon Center.

Educational program

The pedagogical proposal of the 26 Contest seeks that visitors can reflect on the production and consumption of contemporary art.

This program includes reading points in the interior courtyard, the Media Library and the eaves of the Leon Center, where visitors can access specialized publications and serials, such as art magazines, for example. There will be meetings, there will be collective readings on criticism and articles related to contemporary art.

At the creative point, a table will be placed where visitors will find different materials with which they can experiment with constructing and deconstructing objects, creating poems and phrases from stamped words.

There will be a story-making point where, from the use of various elements, visitors will be able to build memories on a magnetized wall. At the end of the composition, you can take pictures and share them on social networks with the hashtag #26CAELJ.

Other components will be the observation races, the teaching materials for teachers and the thematic visits, from the different points of the pedagogical area.

The Jury of 26 Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest

José Roca, is the artistic director of FLORA ars + natura, an independent space for contemporary art in Bogotá, Colombia. Between 2012 and 2015 he curated Latin American Art at the Tate Gallery in London. For more than a decade he was in charge of the art program and oversaw the development of the Banco de la República collection in Bogotá. He has participated as a curator in several international artistic events, such as the Biennial of Sao Paulo, the Poli / graphic Triennial of San Juan, the Encuentro de Medellín and the International Engraving Triennial of Philadelphia.

Alanna Lockward, curator, writer and researcher. He founded and directs Art Labor Archives, a platform based on theory, political activism and art. She is the author of Appreciation: notes on contemporary thinking and creation from the Caribbean (Cendeac, 2006), the short novel Marassá and nothing (Sanctuary, 2013) and A Dominican Haiti. Ghost tattoos and bilateral narratives (1994-2014), a compilation of his investigative work on history and current challenges for both sides of the island (Sanctuary, 2014).

Guadalupe Álvarez, curator, researcher, art critic and professor of Aesthetics, Semiotics and Museology. He directs the Critical Thinking Workshop at the Mónica Herrera University in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has been a curator at the MAAC (Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art of Guayaquil) and the Municipal Museum of Guayaquil.

Daniela Cruz Gil

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