Firelei Baez is a Dominican artist who paints powerful images on top of archival material, frequently old maps. She was featured at the Louisiana Museum just outside Copenhagen when we visited the intro said:
“She paints powerful, poetic images on top of archival material such as maps, book pages and blueprints, boldly going back and forth between the realms of abstraction and figuration.
Baez thrives on opposites and ambiguities. Her work intertwines notions of beauty with the spectre of violence, merges personal perspectives with grand historical narratives and fuses Caribbean mythology with science fiction.
There is a strong vein through the entire body of work concerned with Black diasporic experience and representation and an aim to challenge preconceived and repressive ideas of identity and history,
The endeavour of Hirelel Baez aligns closely with those of contemporary writers and artists who grapple with the absence ol comprehensive historical records pertaining to Indigenous cultures and the descendants of the enslaved. In the face of cultural omission and erasure these creators tum to fiction as a potent tool for building counter histories and challenging notions of fact and truth in the process”
Some of the big canvases are breathtaking
Baez has created large composed collections of images painted on the pages of old books that she has recycled. You can get drawn into these collections for ages.
Here are a couple of the images from the collections
This is “must see” work, Baez is doing a lot more than just painting on top of old maps, there is a strong connection between the locations of the maps and the messages of the images. Look out for her next exhibition near you or at least have a browse on her site