Cheryl Sim on Ooloi Ciguapa (mass pedigrees of masterpieces unsold)
Firelei Báez is an artist of Dominican heritage who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Much of her work engages with mythology, symbolic imagery, and abstract gesture to explore healing and resistance. The work Ooloi Ciguapa (mass pedigrees of masterpieces unsold) illustrates her interest in the Ciguapa, a figure from Dominican mythology. Traditionally, this figure takes a female human form, with brown or deep blue skin, toes pointed backwards, and long hair covering its entire body. The Ciguapa is most often described as a fiendish beauty who kidnaps and assaults those she seduces. She is also depicted as a timid creature who prowls and hides in the forest. Báez reinvents the Ciguapa as a resilient diasporic figure, growing and rooted, and actively connected to nature and other beings.
About Firelei Báez
Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Dominican Republic) received a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art, New York, before receiving her MFA from Hunter College, New York. Her work is the subject of a solo presentation in summer 2021 at the ICA Watershed, Boston. Recently, she has had solo exhibitions at Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art), Rotterdam (2019); Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando (2019); and The Modern Window at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2018). Her major 2015 solo exhibition Bloodlines was organized by the Pérez Art Museum, Miami and travelled to the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. She is a winner of the Artes Mundi 9 Prize (2020) and is the recipient of many awards, including the Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship (2019), Soros Arts Fellowship (2019), the United States Artists Fellowship (2019), and the Future Generation Art Prize (2017).