An Art Exhibition Explores Dominican-Haitian Relations

Promotional photo of painter Freddy Rogriguez's work
Freddy Rodriguez, Cimarron Pintor

Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas,” a recent exhibition curated by Abigail Lapin Dardashti, a doctoral student in art history (The Graduate Center, CUNY), drew on work by 19 contemporary artists to examine the intricate and often fraught relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the island of Hispaniola.

The exhibition was presented by BRIC, one of the largest providers of free cultural programming in New York City. Lapin Dardashti chose works by Dominican and Haitian artists based in the United States and in their native countries that depicted the island’s history of colonialism and exploitation; persistent inequality; and stereotypes of race, identity, and gender.

She also commissioned a collaborative installation by Haitian-American artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier and Dominican-American artist Scherezade Garcia, which brought together video and an installation in BRIC’s Project Room. One particular video featured audio recordings that played the artists’ voices speaking a mix of Spanish, French, English, and Haitian Creole.

Promotional photo of painter Fabiola Jean Louis' work
Fabiola Jean Louis, Madame Beauvoir’s Painting

Among other publications, “Bordering the Imaginary” was featured on Artforum, which described two paintings and a paper gown made by the Haitian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Fabiola Jean-Louis as “[forming] the heart-stopping moment at the center of this excellent, fiercely complicated group show.” The 19 artists “fill the amphitheater-like community space here with a wild array of works, each, like Jean-Louis, winding a vital history lesson around formal invention,” Kaelen Wilson-Goldie wrote in her review.

“A number of people called it empowering,” Lapin Dardashti told The Graduate Center after the show opened. “That’s the biggest reward I could have as a curator. The show is strong conceptually, but it also matters for regular people. People see themselves in the artwork.”

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Explore This Work
Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas

Work By
Abigail Lapin Dardashti (Ph.D. student, Art History) | Profile

Colleges and Schools
The Graduate Center

Bonus Content
Art, Race, and History in Hispaniola (The Graduate Center)

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