Generous Donors

Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes donates important publications to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library

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The books donated to the library from Centro León

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Director Maria Amalia León for making possible a generous donation of the publications of Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes (Centro León) in the Dominican Republic. The donation includes an extensive assortment of books related to the history of photograph, tobacco in the Dominican Republic, art catalogs, and the proceedings of the Congreso Internacional Música, Identidad y Cultura en el Caribe hosted at Centro León in the past (genres of jazz, bolero, and folklore) In addition, their publications are now available online here.

This is the list of publications generously donated by Centro León:

  • Chez Checo, José, and Mu-Kien A. Sang. El tabaco: Historia general en República Dominicana. Volumen 1: Botánica, Usos, y Comercio. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2007.
  • Chez Checo, José, and Mu-Kien A. Sang. El tabaco: Historia general en República Dominicana. Volumen 2: Renacimiento y Expansión. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2007.
  • Chez Checo, José, and Mu-Kien A. Sang. El tabaco: Historia general en República Dominicana Volumen 3: Consolidación y Crisis. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2007.
  • Miller, Jeannette. Historia de la fotografía dominicana. Volumen 1. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Grupo León Jimenes, 2010.
  • Miller, Jeannette. Historia de la fotografía dominicana. Volumen 2. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Grupo León Jimenes, 2010.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989). Volumen 1: Región norte. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989). Volumen 2: Región sur. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989). Volumen 3: Región este. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989.) Volumen 4: Flora/Fauna. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989.) Volumen 5: Dunas/Formaciones Geológicas Origrafía/Volcanes. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • Ducoudray, Félix Servio, Arístides Incháustegui, and Blanca Delgado Malagón. La naturaleza dominicana: artículos publicados en el suplemento sabatino del periódico El caribe (1978-1989). Volumen 6: Àmbar/Varios/Anexos. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2006.
  • López Belando, Adolfo. La memoria de las rocas: Arte rupestre en la República Dominicana. Santiago de los Caballeros: Fundacioń Eduardo León Jimenes: Fundación García Arévalo, 2019.
  • Anuario 2020: La cultura sigue siendo esperanza. Santiago de los Caballeros: Fundacioń Eduardo León Jimenes, 2020.
  • León de Jorge, María Amalia, Lisa K. Erf, Yolanda Wood, Sara Hermann, Michèle Dalmace, Alanna Lockward, and Jorge Pineda. Trenzando una historia en curso: arte dominicano contemporáneo en el contexto del Caribe. Santiago de los Caballeros: Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, 2017.
  • Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, Marianne de Tolentino, Rafael Emilio Yunén, Karenia Guillarón, Sara Hermann, and José M. Fernández Pequeño. Colección Eduardo León Jimenes de Artes Visuales: estructura, contenido, proyección, trascendencia. Santiago de los Caballeros: Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, 2012.
  • XXV Concurso de Arte Eduardo León Jimenes: catálogo de obras octubre 2014/ febrero 2015. Santiago de los Caballeros, Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, 2014.
  • Tejeda, Darío, and Rafael E. Yunén. El Jazz desde la perspectiva caribeña: Memorias Del Iv Congreso Internacional Música, Identidad Y Cultura En El Caribe. Santo Domingo: INEC, Instituto de Estudios Caribeños; Santiago de los Caballeros: Centro León; Santo Domingo: Ministerio de Cultura, 2012.
  • Tejeda, Darío, and Rafael E. Yunén. El bolero en la cultura caribeña y su proyección universal: Memorias del Iii Congreso Internacional Música, Identidad Y Cultura En El Caribe. Santo Domingo: INEC, Instituto de Estudios Caribeños; Santiago de los Caballeros: Centro León; Santo Domingo: Ministerio de Cultura, 2010. 
  • Tejeda, Darío, and Rafael E. Yunén. El folclore musical y danzario del caribe en tiempos de globalización: Memorias Del V Congreso Internacional Música, Identidad Y Cultura En El Caribe. Santo Domingo: INEC, Instituto de Estudios Caribeños; Santiago de los Caballeros: Centro León; Santo Domingo: Ministerio de Cultura, 2014. 
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The papers presented at the Congreso Internacional Música, Identidad y Cultura en el Caribe in 2013, 2011, and 2009 compiled and published in three separate books on jazz, bolero, and folklore.

Thank you once again to Centro León for their kind donation and for allowing us to share these publications with the many different communities we serve on campus and beyond.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian 


Professor Emeritus Michiel Baud donates rare and valuable book collection to the library

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The most recent contribution to the library significantly broadens and enhances our understanding of the Dominican Republic's history and society throughout various periods.  

Prof. Michiel Baud, a retired faculty member of the Department of Latin American Studies at the University of Amsterdam and former Director of CEDLA (Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation) from 2000 until 2018, his research focused on the Dominican Republic, southern Ecuador, and northern Brazil.

Dr. Baud obtained the books from the private collection of his PhD mentor, Harry Hoetink (1931-2005), an influential figure among the initial cohort of post-World War II scholars. Hoetink was instrumental in redefining perceptions of race and color within the broader Caribbean context[1]. Hoetnik is remembered for his seminal work The Dominican People 1850-1900: Notes for a Historical Sociology, initially published in Spanish in 1971[2]. Additionally, Hoetink was married to Ligial Espinal, the daughter of Andrés Julio Espinal, who served as the ambassador/consul of the Dominican Republic in Curaçao during the Trujillo era. Ligial's connections facilitated Hoetink's introduction to Dominican society and enriched his research on the Dominican Republic[3]

The following is a list of donated books from the collection:

  1. Al amor del bohio: tradiciones y costumbres dominicanas, tomo 1" (V. Montalvo, 1927)
  2. "Al amor del bohio: tradiciones y costumbres dominicanas, tomo 2" (Editora La Información, 1929)
  3. "Estados Unidos y las Antillas" (Compañía ibero-americana de publicaciones, 1931)
  4. "Camino real, cuentos" (Imprenta. "El progreso," R.A. Ramos, 1933)
  5. "Episodios dominicanos: la independencia efímera" (Fernand Sarlot, 1938)
  6. "Cosas anejas; tradiciones y episodios dominicano" (Ciudad Trujillo, 1951)
  7. "El tratado de Basilea y la desnacionalización del Santo Domingo Español" (Ciudad Trujillo, 1952)
  8. "La canción folklórica en Santo Domingo" (Sociedad Folklórica Dominicana, 1958)
  9. "Trujillo: causas de una tiranía sin ejemplo" (Libreria Las Novedades, 1959)
  10. "Santiago: Quien te vio y quien te ve" (Impresora commercial, 1961)
  11. "Del Puerto Plata de ayer" (Editora del Caribe, 1963)
  12. "Crisis de la democracia de América en la República Dominicana" (Centro de Estudios y Documentación Sociales, A.C., 1964)
  13. "La Misericordia y sus contornos, 1894-1916" (Editorial Arte y Cine, 1967)
  14. "Hostos Y Su Ideal De Una Confederación Antillana" (Editora del Caribe, 1970)
  15. "Memorias para un capítulo de la historia domínico-haitiana una revolución frustrada y un presidente vitalicio" (Santo Domingo, 1976)
  16. "Encuentro en Santo Domingo" (Santo Domingo, 1980)

Additionally, Dr. Baud has donated the English-language version of his book Peasants and tobacco in the Dominican Republic, 1870-1930 (University of Tennessee Press, 1995) and Confianza: Governance and Trust in Latin America and the Netherlands (University of Amsterdam, CEDLA, 2018).

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Dr. Baud's authored books donated to the library.

This generous donation enriches CUNY DSI's collection of primary and secondary sources on the history and society of the Dominican Republic, bridging a notable gap in our collection. On behalf of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library, we eagerly anticipate the immense value this contribution will offer students, scholars, and the public interested in Dominican Studies for many years to come.

By Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian

 

[1] Oostindie, Gert. “IN MEMORY OF HARMANNUS HOETINK 1931-2005.” NWIG: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, vol. 79, no. 1/2, 2005, pp. 5.

[2] Baud, Michiel. "Harry Hoetink, 1931-2005." Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe, no. 78, 2005, pp. 6.

[3]Maingot, Anthony P. "Harry Hoetink, 1931-2005." The Journal of Caribbean History, vol. 39, no. 2, 2005, pp. 137-138.


Thank you to Dr. Kiwia Ojiri and colleagues for their visit and kind donation this month

 

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From left to right: Dr. Kiwia Ojiri, Dr. Pierre Losson, Dr. Tomoki Zozaki, and Dr. Yoshiaki Hisamatsu, September 7, 2023
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Yamaoka, Kanako. Haiti and the Dominican Republic: The Development of Two Caribbean Countries Coexisting on an Island. Institute of Developing Economies, 2018

Dr. Kiwia Ojiri and her colleagues joined Associate Director Dr. Pierre Losson at the CUNY Dominican Institute Archives and Library. They generously donated a Japanese-language publication that compares Haiti and the Dominican Republic during their visit.

By Librarian Jhensen Ortiz 


Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés donates edited volume to the CUNY DSI library

We are grateful to Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Associate Provost and esteemed scholar who purchased and donated a copy of her book: Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean (SUNY Press, SUNY series, Afro-Latinx Futures 2020) to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library. 

Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean is the first volume in English to explore the cultural impact of Haiti on the surrounding Spanish-speaking nations of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Valdes book

To check Dr. Valdés's most recent project, please visit the exhibition: Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City. To learn more about the exhibit, please click here

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz


Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga donates latest publication to CUNY DSI Library

We would like to thank Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga, Associate Professor in Sociology and Latin American and Latina/o Studies at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York for donating her recent publications to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library.

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Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga signing a copy of her PhD dissertation for the library. 
Prof. Sarah Aponte and Prof. Fuentes-Mayorga
Prof. Sarah Aponte with Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga holding a copy of her recent book and PhD dissertation on April 4, 2023.

We are grateful that Prof. Fuentes-Mayorga donated a copy of her PhD dissertation back in 2005 and has now signed and dedicated a copy of her recent book From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders: Migrating Women, Class, and Color (Rutgers University Press, 2023) to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library.

In addition, she shared her recent article: "Migraciones sin hombres y en contextos racializados. Contribuciones de las mujeres
dominicanas migrantes a las comunidades de origen y de destino," Ronddhha (Revista del Centro Internacional para la Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, CIPDH-UNESCO), N0. 1, Vol. 1, Feb. 2023, 98-103. You can read the article by clicking here.

We are are grateful for her support!

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz


Thank you to Dr. Alsace for her recent book donation

Book Donation with Dr. Tamara Alsace Oct 21st
Dr. Tamara Alsace with the three publications she donated to the library.

Dr. Tamara Alsace generously donated the following rare and out of print publications to our CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library when visiting City College this Fall semester:

Patín Maceo, Manuel A. Dominicanismos. Ciudad Trujillo, R.D.: Librería Dominicana, 1947.

Valera Benítez, Rafael. ¡Complot Develado! Ciudad Trujillo, R.D.: Editora Hándicap, 1960.

Alsace Pacheco, Juan Arturo. Arturo Logroño un orador de América: selección de anécdotas personales, discursos conferencias y páginas selecta. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, s.n. 1987.

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We want to thank Dr. Alsace for her thoughtful donation and we look forward to sharing these sources with our library users.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian


Renowned Ethnomusicologist and Jazz Musician Dr. Paul Austerlitz generously donates to our library!

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Professor and Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte, Dr. Paul Austerlitz, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz receiving the donation on June 13, 2022.

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) Library is always happy to announce donations from patrons, professors, institutions, and colleagues who have supported our work over the years. To kick off the Fall semester, we are excited to share and thank our colleague Dr. Paul Austerlitz for donating part of his extensive collection of Dominican popular and folkloric music recordings of CDs, vinyl records, and audiocassettes to our library over the summer. Additionally, Dr. Austerlitz donated many rare and out-of-print books from his library that will help expand our collection in Dominican music literature and scholarship.

Moreover, in the last several weeks, we have begun sorting and organizing many items from this incredible donation. As a result, we’ve come across all sorts of unique materials in the collection, including a dedicated note and signature from legendary Dominican musician Félix del Rosario to Dr. Paul Austerlitz dated February 2, 1985:

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Dr. Paul Austerlitz holding Félix Del Rosario’s first self-titled LP released in 1964.

 

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Dedicated and signed by Félix Del Rosario to Dr. Paul Austerlitz.

This record will be a great addition to the library’s vinyl collection, as this is something we’ve been working on building over the last few years.

Dr. Paul Austerlitz Dominican Musicians Fieldwork Recordings, 1985-1996*

His donation also contains over 40 audiocassettes interviews conducted by Austerlitz while writing his dissertation/book: Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity. The collection is significant because among those interviewed are prominent musicians and artists, such as Joseíto Mateo, Tavito Vásquez, and Milly Quezada, and Dominican record executives, such as José Luis Santos, founder and owner of José Luis Records in the Dominican Republic. They recorded many popular recording artists like Fefita la Grande, Luis Segura, El Cieguito de Nagua, and Teodoro Reyes, to name a few.

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A snapshot of the many audiocassette interviews with renowned Dominican artists donated to the library.

Lastly, Dr. Austerlitz served as a humanities advisor from 2017-2020 for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) sponsored interactive website A History of Dominican Music in the United States and contributed significant work to the Institute as a visiting research scholar at CUNY DSI.

We are grateful to Dr. Austerlitz for such a sizable donation, as this will benefit researchers, scholars, students, and the public for years to come.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian


Rare Dominican Stamp Collection donated to the CUNY DSI Library

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DSA member Ethan Srebnick with the stamp collection he donated to the CUNY DSI Library.

On March 2022, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library received a unique stamp collection from Ethan Srebnick, a City College student and the Public Relations & Marketing Chair of the Dominican Students Association (DSA) on campus. Ethan participated in an educational workshop conducted by CUNY DSI’ Chief Librarian Prof. Sarah Aponte, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz for the Dominican Students Association. He presented the rich stamp collection after the seminar concluded.

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Prof. Sarah Aponte viewing the stamp collection along with Ethan and other DSA members.

Ethan’s father shared a Fort Independence Neighborhood Association listing placed by an old couple giving away a stamp collection that had postages from around the world. Ethan was compelled to take this collection because a while ago, his great grandmother had shared with him her collection of stamps. Ethan generously donated the section with the stamps from the Dominican Republic to the Dominican Library helping us to continue our vital work to preserve and educate visitors on Dominican history and culture.

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The New Word Wide Postage Stamp Album originally published by Minkus Publications in 1953.

About the Dominican Stamp Collection

The impressive stamp collection is representative of the Trujillo Dictatorship (1930-1961) in the Dominican Republic, including symbols and images of Dominican cultural history such as flags, famous monuments, coats of arms, key national figures, natural landmarks, and government institutions, to name a few. The collection is characterized by significant elements of Dominican state iconography and Trujillo’s cult personality that demonstrates the propaganda value of postage stamps. In addition, these stamps can serve as an excellent primary source for the symbolic messages that overtly or subtly promote nationalism that governments seek to convey to their citizens and the world.

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A handful of the postage stamps donated from the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo Dictatorship. (Double click on the image to get a closer look)

The CUNY DSI Library is very fortunate to have our first stamp collection highlighting the historical and cultural value of the Dominican Republic during the oppressive Trujillo regime. Thanks again to Ethan Srebnick for donating this series of stamps to us. We look forward to sharing them with our patrons.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian


Artist Yelaine Rodriguez donates personal archive to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library

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Yelaine Rodriguez at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Archives and Library, November 23, 2021

Yelaine Rodriguez, the Bronx-based Dominican interdisciplinary artist, curator, and educator best known for her bold wearable art and site-specific installations on Afro-syncretic traditions, has donated a part of her personal archive to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library. The Yelaine Rodriguez archive, which currently consists of ephemera, will grow over time to include additional research papers, lectures, correspondence, sketches, photographs, and videos.

In the email interview that follows, Yelaine Rodriguez discusses what informs and influences her work through the course of her journey up until now.

1. What path did you take to become an artist and curator? 

Y: I like to think that I was always an artist, curating came second. I grew up within a family of artists. As the youngest in my family, I observed everything. With a mother as a hairdresser, a grandmother that constantly crocheted, an older brother into comic books, and with an older sister in the illustration department at Parsons, creativity always surrounded me. My older sister struggled after graduating from Parsons because she did not have elders as an example in the field to guide her. As a result, my mother was very skeptical about her children taking on a career in the arts. Therefore, I decided on a BFA in fashion design. My thought process was that a degree in fashion design would provide financial stability while in a creative field. Ironically the fashion industry was one of the first industries negatively impacted by the pandemic.  

For a while, being in the fashion industry allowed me to fund my art and other creative interest, but it wasn’t my main focus. When I graduated from Parsons, I went to Altos de Chavon in La Romana, the Dominican Republic as a Teacher Assistant and Resident Assistant in 2013. During that time, the Dominican Republic was in the middle of a human rights violation case with neighboring country Haiti. The Dominican government implemented a new law rendering Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless. At the time, I didn’t consider myself very political. I would attend protests and community meetings to lend my support, but I wanted to do something that felt more natural to me. That was when my journey as a curator came to fruition. I saw curating as a classroom, as an opportunity for gathering and sharing ideas, and since then, I have tried to maintain that same sentiment in every exhibit I do. 

2. La Lucha exhibition series was groundbreaking, provocative, and enlightening for people of Dominican and Haitian descent seeking to educate themselves and find creative spaces to have a conversation about the Dominican and Haitian communities' shared history. Can you talk about its origins and trajectory?

Y: La Lucha came about during a time of political unrest in the Dominican Republic. In 2013 while on the island working as a teaching assistant and resident assistant, I found myself in an ironic situation. I was in a bubble of like-minded creative people talking about the political issues in a safe place while our community was out in the street fighting against the injustice implemented by the Dominican government. I wanted to do something about it, but I wasn’t sure what would be the best use of my time. While hearing some Dominican nationalists use language as an excuse to other their brothers and sisters from Haiti made me think of using art as a communication tool. I had no idea how to put together an exhibition or where to begin, so I approached galleries in the Dominican Republic. Of course, they all turned me down, saying that the topic was too political, thus forcing me to take my exhibition idea to New York. In New York, I soon realized that even in this so-called melting pot, we are divided. Through word-of-mouth recommendations, I commenced meeting artists all over the city of Dominican and Haitian descent. The first exhibition, which took place on a cold February evening in 2015, brought in a significantly large crowd. Every 30-mins, I had to send people out of the exhibition space to bring a new crowd in. That night even a group of Dominican nationalists came to protest. I didn’t realize how many emotions this exhibit would trigger. Good or bad, it sparked a conversation making it a success in my eyes. All I wanted with this series was to bring the community together to celebrate our similarities and our differences. Three exhibitions later, those artists are still in my life. It is great to see how to this day, various members of the collective have continued to foster their relationship with each other. Additionally, to witness the several projects that have emerged as a result. I am pleased to say that I was able to do that.

3. What social, artistic, and political perspectives inform your work?

Y: Themes around post-coloniality, slavery, and identity formation within the Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latinx communities regularly circulate and inform my work. Afro-syncretism as a connector to the past, present, and future within African diasporic communities is of uttermost importance and dominant factor within my artistic and curatorial practices. I research sites of historically significant (both nature and architecture ruins alike) throughout the Caribbean and the United States to reimagine new perspectives and alternative futures through wearable art, photography, and video documentation. My work lives simultaneously between the past and the present. I source archival material and consult with the African diasporic communities I am connected to, thus creating images that speak to the collective experience. I am also particularly interested in gentrification and the changing landscape. I often ask myself who were the original inhabitants of this location before selecting a site for my shoots? Who is currently living here, and who will eventually end up here? Asking myself these questions helps me construct a more rounded project, holds me accountable, and keeps me informed.

4. One can find many influences in your fashion practice. Can you discuss specifically the role of Afro-Latinx and Caribbean religions in your fashion art and as a curator?

Y: I started researching Afro-syncretic religions in the Dominican Republic and Haiti out of curiosity. Growing up, I saw bits and pieces of these traditions scattered around in various Afro-Latinx homes, but it was never fully passed down or openly spoken about to me. While researching in my early twenties, I was intrigued by the similarities and differences between these religions. Geography and language truly reconstruct how people practice and interpret these African traditions. It became evident that Afro-syncretic religions are connectors to our ancestors and each other no matter what language we speak or our geographical location. I was also interested in how others outside of these cultures negatively perceived these Afro-centered traditions. In addition, how the colonial mindset is still a factor that removes us from our roots. Because even within Black communities, we condemn Afro-syncretic religions while embracing Christianity. Through my artistic practice, I seek to create images that break away from these negative stereotypes. Images that celebrate Black Latinidad and African diasporic communities while recognizing the past. As a curator, I strive to provide a platform where other Afro-Latinx and Caribbean artists exploring themes of spirituality and coloniality could have a voice. Also to highlight our African roots within vernacular cultures and the quotidian.

5. How do you engage with historical materials when curating an exhibition and as an artist?

Y: As an artist, I use historical material as inspiration. I find historical accounts, read them against the grain, and reinterpret them within my artistic practice. I rarely take the archives as absolute facts. I take into consideration the archivist and their purpose? . What was the archivist's intention in preserving these materials or their bias? I usually pull from colonial archives, hence why I am skeptical about my findings. Yet, I use the opportunity to reimagine history and give a voice to those silenced or erased by colonial archives. I see myself traveling more in the future. I intend to visit these historical sites mentioned in the archival materials I've found, incorporating them into my photography and video work, as a practice of accountability and preservation.

6. Can you tell us more about your experience directing and producing the chamber opera EBBÓ? What were some of the new elements that you introduced to this piece?

Y: EBBÓ originally premiered in 1998. It is a chamber opera based in Cuba, highlighting themes and elements found in Santeria throughout the narrative by Cuban composer Louis Aguirre and librettist Rafael Almanza. This interpretation of EBBÓ was commissioned by the America Society, specifically for online viewing. Set in the Dominican Republic, I envision EBBÓ in two ruins connected to the colonial and slave period of Hispaniola. I brought this opera to Ingenio Boca de Nigua, where the first documentation of Black resistance took place in the entire island of Hispaniola. It was a rebellion organized by an enslaved woman in the 1700s by the name of Ana Maria. I found her story to have some similarities with the protagonist of EBBÓ, making these ruins the perfect location for the film. It was also the longest short film I have done, as of today, incorporating dancers from the Dominican Republic. It was such a great experience working on this film on the island with a full Dominican cast and crew. This opportunity allowed me to join my interest in Dominican history, specifically history connected to acts of rebellion and resistance, with Afro-syncretism.

7. You recently submitted your Master’s thesis, “The Ghost Personified: Race, Museum Exclusionary Practices, and Archival silences in Dominicanyork art,” for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Museum Studies program at New York University. Can you discuss what motivated you to conduct research and write about this topic? In addition, what were some of the challenges with researching and writing this thesis? 

Y: I am well aware that my efforts are part of a continuous dialogue and collective struggle. My goal for my thesis paper was to highlight the Dominican York artists that paved the way for me and my contemporaries. My thesis thus celebrates Dominican York artists and illustrates the collective and individual efforts made by Dominican York artists to heighten visibility within US and Dominican visual culture discourse. My motivation for this thesis was personal as a self-identifying Dominican York artist with an outsider/insider disposition in the Dominican Republic and the States. I wanted to highlight that Dominican York art is Dominican and American art. Therefore, it should be readdressed as such within museum institutions across the United States and the Dominican Republic. I interviewed three Dominican York artists from distinctive generations spanning from the 1960s to the 1990s. My goal was to demonstrate how artists have inched towards cultural equity, providing stepping stones for the next generations. However, I also wanted to showcase that despite these strides, Dominican York artists have yet to reach a higher position within the art world as their contemporaries (Nuyorican), regardless of being one of the largest immigrant populations in New York. 

Researching during the pandemic was a great challenge. However, I was able to rely on a robust community that was eager to share resources such as books and articles from their private archives. I was able to do this due to years of community building through my cultural collective of La Lucha: Dominican Republic and Haiti, One Island that allowed me to build a family of artists throughout the year. I employ my community back on the island to get resources that have not been archived, either because of lack of resources or other hierarchical political reasons. Without this community, a thesis such as this would have been impossible to complete. Most of my archival material was from personal archives. This experience made me come to the realization that there is much to be done as our story is scattered around in fragmented pieces. One of the articles that informed my work was an interview by Felix Disla that you shared with me. Via social media, I tracked down one of his former students who had a book by Disla that was out of print and was not in any of the libraries in NY. A friend of mine met up with Disla former student and scanned it for me. In the article, there was mention of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum curated by Disla. I reached out to Suhaly Bautista-Carolina that currently works at the Met, whom I have known for years, and she was able to track down a copy of the invitation. Without my community, my thesis wouldn't be possible. It is a collective effort.

8. Lastly, would you like to share any entertaining anecdotes or details from past exhibitions in this collection that make them particularly interesting?

Y: The first exhibition of La Lucha: Dominican Republic and Haiti, One Island, as I mentioned earlier, was protested by a group of Dominican nationalists. That evening they handed out fliers condemning the exhibition and challenging my character. Days leading to the opening, I found myself erasing hate messages on the Facebook invite. I did not want this negativity amongst my community. However, it got to a point it was overwhelming, and I decided people should see them. I didn't know we would get protestors during opening night. However, reading their article motivated me even more. It showed me how much work we have ahead of us, especially when people from the same cultural background have such polarizing points of view about our history. I found this piece and would love to add it to the archives.

Yelaine archives
Close up on the materials donated to the library

We would like to express our gratitude once again for Yelaine donating these materials to the library, and we look forward to incorporating her work in the future alongside other artists through the digital project Dominican Artists in the United States to help further disseminate her work with researchers, students, teachers, and the general public. 

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian


Donor Appreciation for renowned writer Julia Álvarez

We are indebted to the award-winning novelist, poet and essayist Julia Álvarez for her donations and continuous support to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library. We are fortunate to have received her timely donations that include complete collections of her published writings as well as books and rare materials from her personal library. These invaluable sources provide insights on topics related to the history, society and culture of the Dominican Republic. Scholars and students who visit our Dominican Library from around the world have benefited from these kind donations.

The donated materials include one of a kind, rare publications, videos, and vinyl records, which are very difficult to locate or out of print. Among these, we can find the exceptional collection published by the Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, an institution devoted to the perseveration, promotion, and dissemination of the traditional Dominican bibliographic canon through the re-edition of Dominican classic texts and foreign authors. The Dominican Library dedicated a special shelve section to this first edition reprint donation in honor of Eduardo and Julia Álvarez, parents of Julia Álvarez. These books cover a wide range of subjects including literature, art, politics, history, economics, and culture. More recently, thanks to Álvarez’s agency, the Dominican Library received thirty-eight additional titles from the Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos to complete this one of a kind collection. We would like to acknowledge Bibliófilos member Tomas Taveras (Álvarez’s cousin), who sent the materials.

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Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos collection named after Eduardo and Julia Alvarez at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library

A Selection of Alvarez’s adult and children publications available at the Dominican Library:

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From left to right: How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), In the Time of the Butterflies (1995), Yo: A Novel (1997), In the Name of Salomé: a Novel (2000), Cuando la Tía Lola vino a quedarse (2001), Un regalo de gracias: la leyenda de la Altagracia (2007), and El mejor regalo del mundo: la leyenda de La Vieja Belén (2009).

A selection of audio-visual materials donated by Alvarez from her personal library:

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From left to right: Camila Henríquez Ureña: ensayo, LP (1981), Caimoni: imágenes del pasado (VHS, 1997), and Voces Dominicanas (LP/vinyl, 1960s).

We are grateful for Julia Álvarez’s support and encourage students and researchers to visit the CUNY DSI Library to use these important materials.

Prof. Sarah Aponte, Chief Librarian 

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian