In this work, Báez overlays a ciguapa figure with lustrous, manipulated hair and floral appendages onto an enlarged reproduction of the 1645 geographical game “Le Jeu du Monde.” The object of the game is to move from what is delineated as the outer edges of the world—Cuba, Mexico, Egypt—to the center (France) by rolling dice and moving each game piece from circle to circle on the map board. The feminine-archetypal ciguapa is a trickster from Dominican folklore who, for Báez, embodies the potential to defy oppressive convention and break through generations of karmic loads. Here, she stands at the center of the defined world, suggesting a rhizomatic alternative to hierarchies of place. Her presence destabilizes the geographic notion of center and periphery.
James Cohan Tribeca, Firelei Báez, March 8 - April 25, 2020
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