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.
Cleveland Museum of Art - Picturing Motherhood Now: Images for a New Era, on view from October 16, 2021 to March 13, 2022 James Cohan Tribeca, Firelei Báez, March 8 - April 25, 2020
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Liebert, Emily and Rivera Fellah, Nadiah, Picturing Motherhood Now, New Haven and
London: Yale University Press, 2021.