Black and white photograph of Firelei Báez from the waist up

Firelei Báez

Philip Guston Rome Prize
September 6, 2021–February 7, 2022
Artist, Bronx
Project title
To see beyond it and to access the places that we know lie outside its walls
Project description

I propose to create new site-specific paintings and a sculptural installation in response to diasporic histories embedded within various locations in Rome. These works will seek to reinstate the underrepresented stories of women who have played significant roles within Italian history, initiating moments of resistance and also healing. I frequently explore histories of Afro-Caribbean women overshadowed by, albeit absolutely foundational to, Western narratives about migration—including Marie-Louise Christophe, the first queen of Haiti who was forced into exile, ultimately settling in Pisa. By reclaiming her story from the margins, celebrating her resilience in the face of unrest and migration and presenting her as integral to the rising of a new culture in the New World, I aspire to encourage a more complex view of the independence movements that occurred throughout the Americas during this period.

The photograph of Firelei Báez was taken by Sunny Leerasanthanah.