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Firelei Báez

STUDIO LHOOQ photographed Firelei Báez's work in studio, for a publication to accompany her solo exhibition Bloodlines.

Tracing the history of social movements in the Unites States and the Caribbean, Bloodlines presents a series of new works by Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; lives in New York) inspired by lineages of black resistance. Best known for her large-scale works on paper, Báez makes connections that further our understanding of diasporic experiences by interweaving the lives of 18th century black women in Louisiana and the Cuban roots of the Latin American azabache, with symbols used in the U.S. during the tumultuous 1960s.
Bloodlines showcases paintings and drawings specifically depicting textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments, linking traditionally loaded symbols with individual human gestures. Her works are labor intensive, delicate and rich in color, mostly rendering female subjects and their subjectivities. Her act of overlaying past and potential histories enriches obscured narratives of black experience and resistance, illustrating complex settings where skin tone is no longer a sufficient signifier of race.