Firelei Báez was born in the Dominican Republic in 1981. When she was nine years old, her family moved to Miami, where she stayed until moving to New York to study at the prestigious Cooper Union School.
Ever since, and to this day, she has resided in New York (although increasingly, she divides her time between New York and Miami) and it is here in this city, where she presents the exhibition Joy Out of Fire at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The title of the exhibition immediately alludes to the achievements by members of the African-American communities despite the social, political and economic injustices that continue to this day. These injustices are represented by fire as adversity but also as an irrepressible energy that provides shelter and protection.
The exhibition is part of an initiative by the Studio Museum in Harlem. This mythical institution that functions as an open house for the inhabitants and visitors in the New York neighborhood, a space of identity and identification, representation and expression, is much more than just a museum.
Currently, the museum is undergoing remodeling and construction work in order to accommodate growing demands. During this period, the managing staff have developed a program called inHarlem, where projects and exhibitions organized by the museum are hosted by neighboring institutions in the area, traditionally home to Afro-American communities.