Friday, October 14, 2005

Carreño brings Hispanic-Afro art to Vanderbilt

This week Vanderbilt University announced the "Consecrated Places" art exhibition of works by Afro-Dominican painter Antonio Carreño:

Antonio CarrenoAfro-Dominican painter Antonio Carreño's exhibition opened earlier this week at Vanderbilt's Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, marking the first time that the artist's paintings have been shown in Nashville. The opening of Carreño's exhibit entitled "Consecrated Places" coincides with El Día de la Raza, honoring the merging of the Old and New Worlds with Columbus's voyage in 1492.

Carreño, widely lauded by New York's artistic community for merging a traditional fresco technique with contemporary images, is a national leader in the Latino art community. His abstract-surrealist style has been compared to master painters such as Joan Miró and Paul Klee, and his work has garnered praise from galleries in New York, Miami, and Boston.

"Consecrated Places" showcases some of the artist's strongest work to date. As Carreño explains, his paintings have a strong spiritual component that emanates from the canvases: "For me, a 'consecrated place' is any place where you feel strongly invested. It can be a river where you go to meditate, a relative's home, or the place where a soldier died...a place where human dignity seems to find a transcendence of spirituality is to me a 'consecrated place.'"

Given the historical weight of the day of Columbus's arrival to Carreño's native Dominican Republic, the exhibition is particularly important. As Professor William Luis explains, "Bringing an Afro-Dominican artist of Carreño's caliber to Vanderbilt honors the spirit of El Día de la Raza, demonstrating the syncretism of African, American, and European cultural

Carreño, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, studied at the National School of Fine Arts. His art work has been on exhibit in collections throughout the world including the Latin American Museum of Modern Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Museum of Art in Santo Domingo.

The exhibition will remain until December 3, 2005. This landmark event, open to the public, was made possible by Vanderbilt University's Black Cultural Center, with the support of the Provost's office, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Center for the Americas.

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