Firelei Báez
(b. 1980, Dominican Republic)
Firelei Báez lives and works in New York. She makes intricate works on paper, paintings on canvas and large scale sculptures in which anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women's work converge to explore the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies. She received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union's School of Art, and studied at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has had solo exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and at Pérez Art Museum Miami. In 2016 and 2017 she will participate in group and solo museum exhibitions including at the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA, and at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA.
Firelei Baez formulates a visual passage between past and present, individual and collective experiences, while looking for parallels between Caribbean and Ukrainian contexts through the idea of resistance, exclusion and endurance. Interested in cultural ambiguities and how physical world can be re-examined in the framework of a larger history, the artist researches connections between the body and different forms of official representations.

The transition of time is reflected in textures, symbols and materials used for creating her complex installation and intimate visual archives. The heroes of her miniature paintings are people with marginalized personal narratives – migrants, victims of natural catastrophes, women of dark skin and voluptuous shapes. They appear on the old book pages, negotiating with their multiple voice their presence within official history. Maps, patterns, and goddesses derived from different contexts combine into a palimpsest of personal biography embedded in the migrant experience. They overlay a wall seemingly dropped anachronistically from another time. It is a surface that melds the landscape and symbols of Cap Haitien, Haiti and Carpathia, Ukraine into one. A contemplative space made up of Caribbean and Ukrainian plants provides refuge, and gives room to dream and self-reflect beyond the seeming chaos of the external world. A small light flickers in the darkness, revealing itself to be a burning tire, a symbol of resistance around the world.
Firelei Báez. Trust Memory Over History (Seeking counsel with the Rada Loa), 2017 Gouache, ink, gold foil, chine-colle on 140 deaccessioned book pages
Firelei Báez. The Last One Who Remembers it (or the lucky meeting of a carpathian time traveler in Cap-Haїtien), 2017 Acrylic, sheet rock, steel
Profiles of 21 Artists Shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2017