Firelei Báez was born in the Dominican Republic to Dominican and Haitian parents and lives and works in New York. Báez received her BFA from Cooper Union, and her MFA at Hunter College. Her work has been exhibited in various national and international institutions, including the New Jersey City Museum, El Museo del Barrio, The Cortona Archeological Museum (Cortona, Italy), The Caribbean African Diaspora Institute (CCADI), and in the Bronx Artist Biennial, BX1. Her work was recently featured in El Museo's Sixth Biennial The [S] Files/The Street Files. Baez was a recent resident artist in The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and participated in Aljira Center for Contemporary Art's Emerge Program. She has received many prestigious awards including The 2010 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, The Jaque and Natasha Gelman Award, and The Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) Award among others. Her work has been reviewed in the Art Nexus; Art In America, The Pittsburg City Paper, The Studio Museum Magazine and The New York Times. Her work is in the collection of El Museo, The TG Riese Collection and the Peggy Cooper Cafritz collection. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the LMCC Workspace, where she is working on a new body of work. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
My large-scale paintings, drawings and collages explore the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within Caribbean diasporic societies, which have an ability to live with cultural ambiguities and use them to build psychological and even metaphysical defenses against cultural invasions. Through a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women's work, my projects present personal cultural narratives that are natively fluent. Neither ethnographic nor political, they are instead globally informed reinterpretations of regional mythologies and traditions. I have explored these issues through a varied range of topics from Caribbean carnival to the palimpsest of hair culture and gendered notions of landscape.