For Dominican-Haitian artist Firelei Báez, art is way of exploring her identity. Through painting and drawing, Báez works with the concept of the body in relation to nature, history and culture.
In Bloodlines – one of her most famous shows – Báez painted symbols of Afro resistance on the walls in designs that brought to mind the sumptuousness and the culture of the Caribbean. Can I Pass (2011) is also part of the exhibition. During a time period of two years, Báez painted her self-portrait based on the paper bag test. Allegedly, only people with a skin tone lighter than a paper bag may pass as white.
While born in the Dominican Republic in 1981, the artist has lived in the United States since the age of 9. She graduated from the Cooper Union School in New York, studied at the MFA at Hunters College and later at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2010 she won the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation scholarship for artists and sculptors.
Her work is part of the collection at the Harlem Studio Museum, the BNY Mellon Art Collection in Pittsburgh and the San Jose Museum of Art in California. She has exhibited at the New Museum in New York, the Pérez Museum in Miami and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, among others. In 2018, Báez will be among the invited artists at the X Berlin Biennial.