Call them artists without borders.
More than a dozen Dominican and Haitian artists will come together to showcase artwork depicting the relationship between the two neighboring Caribbean countries. At the exhibit “Bordering the Imaginary,” opening at Bric House on March 14, artists from both countries will explore the history of the island they share. The show was inspired by a controversial 2013 ruling that stripped Dominican citizenship from children of Haitian descent, and the ignorance that its curator saw displayed at panels and protests about the ruling.
“I started going to events about it but it upset me all the time,” Abigail Lapin Dardashti, a Dominican-American woman raised in France. “I felt that there was a lack of education on the history of the island and the history of exchange on island, because most of these events just ended in arguments, there was a lot of contention, extremes, and emotions of course.”
As a scholar in Latin American art, she wanted to bring a different perspective to the conversation, and she came up with the exhibit as a way to get artists of both nationalities to work together.
“This exhibit’s [purpose] is to propagate and imagine communities, and it’s Dominican artists and Haitian artists who come together, and trying to find ways that highlight that creativity,” said Lapin Dardashti.
The exhibit features 40 pieces from 19 artists, and is split into three sections. The first examines the history of the island, the second looks at the border area between the two nations, and the last is a joint multimedia project by Dominican-American artist Scherezade Garcia and Haitian-American artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier. Their section, titled “Memories of a Utopian Island and the Future,” features an animated video and an installation exploring resistance and race.
On March 17, both artists will join a panel discussion about the island’s shared history in art. The countries have much in commmon, said Garcia.
“The more and more we engage in this conversation of Hispaniola we realize we’re not different,” she said. “And it’s not about making us one country — it’s beyond politics, it’s about the history that unites us, and they can fight all we want but we are intertwined.”
“Bordering the Imaginary” at Bric House [647 Fulton St. at Rockwell Places in Fort Greene, (718) 855–7882, www.brica
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