I came across a really intriguing artist today, in my Race & Psychoanalysis seminar. Her name is Firelei Báez, and she hails from the Dominican Republic to Dominican and Haitian parents and now lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited in various national and international institutions, including the New Jersey City Museum and El Museo Del Barrio, and won many prestigious awards including The Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, The Jaque and Natasha Gelman Award, and The Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) Award among others.
I was particularly struck by her “Can I Pass? Introducing the Paper Bag to The Fan Test for the Month of December” self-portrait silhouettes… really haunting stuff. Here’s her description and an image:
“In documenting the daily changes to my hair, a natural hygrometer, this ongoing piece brings up two absurd tests used for racial stratification, the ‘brown paperbag’ and ‘fan’ tests, of the American South and the Dominican Republic, which informed social interactions during my upbringing in these sites.”
Visit her site and see her work here.