Franz Caba is a Dominican architect and self taught artist working and living in Santo Domingo, he is interested in the non-normative body and the issues around identity, his diverse body of work includes everything from acrylic drawings, digital art to installations. Caba celebrates queer identity in all its plurality, encourages us to be vulnerable and look inwards to connect and be our authentic selves.
I think through Caribbean culture I’ve found a territory that allows me to meditate and question our insular context, the similarities and differences of our historical and social processes have led me to reflect about the belonging and identity of the body and its representation, the issues around the colonized collective imaginary and its influence in the intimate perceptions of selfFranz Caba, 2021
C – Your work explores issues around identity, body and vulnerability. How did you go from an architecture background to the contemporary art world? How does vulnerability help you in the creation process?
F – I’ve been interested in art since I can remember, I think my architecture studies led me to question the physical and psychological connotations of the bodily experience. I think vulnerability is the key to articulate our intimate self with the otherness.
For my catapult’s residency I wanted to develop collaborative works with individuals from the Dominican LGBT+ community. These collaborations consist in conversations around the non normative body, touching the universe of discourses and experiences that emerge from the dissident corporeality. With the intention of knowing, empathizing and showcasing issues from individual realities.Franz Caba (2020)
C – Your collaborations with LGBTQ+ communities from the Dominican Republic are the result of wonderful illustrations, celebrating the non-normative body. Can you tell us more about the impact your art practice has on the queer community and how it could be different for these communities in the Caribbean?
F – I’ve been working on a series titled “marichamo” that explores the non-normative bodies in Dominican queer culture. In the most recent years, I’ve been through a process of personal politicization that permeates on my artistic works and I think because of that, it might be possible that other people identify themselves with the subjects I depict. I truly believe that in the Caribbean as in the Dominican Republic as well, our community struggles with similar issues that have in common a shared colonial past that ultimately evolved to political systems and institutions trying to overrule our bodies and human rights.
Do places resemble people or people resemble places?
I find so peculiar the concern we feel for the habitable even when places do not belong to us. We are terrified of the transformation of places because that entails the death of our spatial fantasies and identity. The city is full of architectural corpses that adorn our emotional transit, as if our memory needed earrings to feel genuine, valid.
“The spirit of the place” is a creature of many heads, some are ours but most are alien. How does time choose which one to decapitate?Franz Caba, 2021
C – Your series “El nudo desnudo” is about personal family experiences and mental health. What is the message behind your art? What are your inspirations? What is the response to your work ?
F – “El nudo Desnudo” reflects about mental integrity and the bodily imaginary, through this series of works I intend to connect myself and the viewer with the vulnerabilities and dualities of our psycho corporal character. For this series I think of my personal and family experiences with mental health and it is directly influenced by the anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. I can’t determine an specific response to my work but I like to think people find in it a space to concatenate our emotional intimacy.
C – You are from Dominican Republic. How does Caribbean culture influence your artwork ?
F – I think through Caribbean culture I’ve found a territory that allows me to meditate and question our insular context, the similarities and differences of our historical and social processes have led me to reflect about the belonging and identity of the body and its representation, the issues around the colonized collective imaginary and its influence in the intimate perceptions of self.
C – What are your future projects, goals, exhibitions? 🌞
F – I’m currently working on a new series that reflects on the body and the architectural identities of Domininican Republic and the relationships between objects, spaces and colonization. I also want to continue experimenting with installations and tattooing and approach other art forms like performance, painting and digital media to find other ways to develop my art practice.
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