The Dominican Republic and Haiti, two nations that share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, have long been divided not just by a disputed border but also by language, culture and immigration tensions. The new art exhibit at the Art Museum of the Americas, however, focuses instead on an emerging dialogue between the two countries.
“On Common Ground: Dominican Republic + Haiti” is a product of cultural exchanges between Dominican and Haitian artists since the 2010 earthquake that took an enormous toll on Haiti, says Andrés Nabia, interim director of the museum affiliated with the Organization of American States, which showcases artwork from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The quake left at least 250,000 people dead according to Haitian authorities. More than 1.5 million people displaced, and about 550,000 are still living in temporary shelters nearly three years later, according to USAID.
Beyond furthering cross-border dialogue, Nabia hopes that the exhibit will give the art world a reason to take Caribbean artists seriously.
“We want to break the stereotype of untrained artists,” he says. “These are artists that could sell their work in any contemporary gallery in the world.”
The collective show features contemporary installations and paintings, accompanied by a series of questions posed to the artists about Dominican-Haitian relations. The questions, says Nabia, are meant to present in a positive light the political implications of the artists’ work.
The exhibit runs from February 13 to May 26. Admission is free.
— Radhika Raman
Art Museum of the Americas
201 18th Street NW
Entrada gratis /// Free Admission