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Woman centricity. Through her artworks Raquel Paiewonsky reminds us how women are important : they are strong, versatile beings that give birth, breastfeed, they are nature-orientated and mystical. They are the origin of the world. Whilst wanting to share this message, we discover caribbean new realism art. She is a multidisciplinary artist from Dominican Republic and creates powerful paintings, sculptures, installations and photographs.

C – When did you start to making art? Tell me about yourself

R – I am from the Dominican Republic, where I currently live and work. I started being aware of my connection to art when I was a teenager but since very young I was already taking on creative endeavors.

I have a studio at home, where I live with my husband and 2 teenage boys. My art practice has become over the years a very natural activity in our household. I have always enjoyed having the proximity of a home studio because it allows for life and art to intertwine.

I enjoy what I do and have learned to respect time, processes and pauses within my practice.

« Sometimes I like to present images of the body that are free from the sexual load »

C – I love the way you represent women and their attributes. What inspires you? What is your main art inspiration?

R – My work explores the relationship between our essence and our surroundings, the impact of stereotypes and cultural constructions, always taking as a reference our instinctual selves and the ways in which the primal component of our nature is affected by the new and ever changing contexts of contemporary life.

Sometimes I like to create images of the body that are free from the sexual load that it usually carries in visual representations.  I use fragmented parts of the body as a symbolism for our connection to nature

Other times I like to use clothing and fabric as an extension of ourselves and who we are, in relation to others and our context. It is important to me to talk about the feminine energy that we all have as human beings and that sometimes is lost in a society centered on productivity and economics.

C – Where do you find muses for your performance, for example the interlude performance? What is your relation with them?

R – I work with volunteers, sometimes they are friends or colleagues, and sometimes they are total strangers. I usually post invitations in social media, other times, friends invite their friends and so fourth.

It is very important for me to transmit the idea and purpose of the performance, so the participants can make an informed choice and connect to the piece. The period before the actual performance is crucial for everyone to warm up, meet everyone else and get confortable while planning, fitting props, etc.

There is always a theme or story as a starting point, but I like to watch their interactions unfold naturally and work with it. Its almost as if everyone has their own little story to tell.

These experiences create beautiful complicity and connection between the participants that allows for a dialogue to continue after the action.

C – How the Caribbean culture influences your artwork?   

R – I live in the Caribbean so inevitable its energy is going to permeate the work. But most importantly, it is the closest context to my work. We all have a global mind now and are connected to many things.

Regardless of that, I am fascinated and feel much love for this region, therefore its conflicts and beauty often come up.

“Muro (Wall)” – 2000 fabric embroidered breasts – variable dimensions 3.5m x 5m. (2009)

C – What is your job currently? What are your future projects?  

R – My studio is the starting place of most of my work. I spend quite a bit of time there, but I also have periods of time where I work outside, particularly with photography and performance.

I mostly show my work in Museums and institutions, but I also work with 2 art galleries, Lucy García Art Gallery in Santo Domingo and Yellow Peril Gallery in Rhode Island.

I am interested in teaching, which I do sometimes and connecting with other artists for projects, education and support.

C – What is the favorite artwork you’ve made? Why? What is your favorite type of art: photo, collage, painting…

R – I don’t have a favorite artwork; they all have their purpose and taught me different things. Big installations for example can be very thrilling, small paintings can be so private and rewarding and video and performances have more elements of surprise.

Every project reveals the perfect medium for it and they all have their fun.

It’s pleasure to make you discover this talented artist. Fyi, Raquel has been exhibiting her work since 1992 : in USA, Caribbean (Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Martinique…), Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Swiss…), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico)…

Real life is better than the internet, so If you want see her artworks, she’ll exhibit in 2019 in Martinique at Fondation Clément & USA at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in New Bedford, Mass.

Follow Raquel on her social media >

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