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The Arts of the Caribbean

A selection of 39 artworks by recognized Caribbean artists will be on display in a new art exhibit at the IDB. This vibrant exhibit coming from a collection of two thousand works, of the Organization of American States (OAS) Art Museum of the Americas, features paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and photographs by masters such as Amelia Peláez, Juan José Sicre and Mario Carreño.

The selection centers on countries that represent the Spanish, English, French and Dutch speaking Caribbean, offering a broad perspective of the region. Highlights include two important pieces by women artists of the Caribbean, El vendedor de andullo (Tobacco Vendor), 1938 by Dominican Republic forerunner Celeste Woss y Gil; and a prominent oil painting entitled Marpacífico (the name used in Cuba for the hibiscus flower), 1943 by Cuban modernist Amelia Peláez.

Both works were donated to the OAS by IBM in 1969, along with other significant pieces by outstanding Latin American and Caribbean artists, a gesture that signals the importance assigned to the OAS’s efforts to promote the region in the United States through the arts, as well as the support it received for those efforts.

The exhibit also includes a rare selection of prints by some of the most relevant artists of the Haitian artistic renaissance of the mid-1940s, such as Castera Bazile, Wilson Bigaud, Dieudonné Cedor, Jacques-Enguerrand Gourgue, and Gabriel Lévêque, that have not been exhibited since they were part of a traveling exhibition in 1948.

The Curator of the exhibit is Félix Ángel, General Coordinator and Curator of the IDB Cultural Center, assisted by Maria Leyva,  Curator of Collections at the OAS Museum.  Leyva is the author of the essay included in the exhibit catalogue, which explains how a group of such significant pieces by Caribbean artists came to be part of the OAS Museum’s collection, a process associated with several factors, for example, the intensity of art movements in the various countries, the interest the respective societies have demonstrated toward the arts, and the order in which the countries themselves became active members of the Organization of American States.

This exhibit highlights a part of the history of art in our hemisphere, said Leyva.  “All of the artists in the exhibit have made significant contributions to American art in its broadest sense, through their aesthetic achievements and, in many cases, through their teaching and mentoring activities,” she added. The IDB Cultural Center has given the Museum a wonderful opportunity to share some important works that the Organization of American States (OAS) has acquired over the years.

Additional information

The exhibit is open from August 27 to October 26, 2007. A free bilingual catalog is available to the public. For additional information about the IDB Cultural Center and its programs, please call (202) 623-3774. The IDB Cultural Center art gallery is located at 1300 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., and is open five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., free of charge. The nearest Metro station is Metro Center.

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