New Image Art is pleased to present Tiffany Alfonseca and Raelis Vasquez’s two-person exhibition, Como Nosotros Somos, on view by appointment through October 17, 2020.  Como Nosotros Somos translates to, "How We Are", emphasizing the artist’s examination in embracing a renewed narrative and consciousness around their relationship with their Afro-Latinx identity. In this exhibition, Tiffany Alfonseca and Raelis Vaquez celebrate the Afro-Dominican diaspora through vibrant portraiture.



As the artists adapt to the new reality of the 2020 pandemic, Alfonseca & Vazquez find themselves, now more than ever intimately delving into the lives of their close friends and family’s domestic surroundings. While coping with this unique isolation and new social structures, Alfonseca & Vazquez capture their subjects confronting the varying realities of quarantine. Throughout both artists’ series, figures are lounging at home or in small gatherings demonstrating a sense of unity and comfort, while imbuing a pensive and contemplative mood. 

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Spending copious amounts of time with family is not a new concept for both artists. For Raelis Vaquez, who emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, family and kinship are central in his personal life and in his art practice. Unlike the individualistic western paradigm, immigrant families create extensive cultural networks to build a foundation of support. This sense of cultural connectivity is evident within Tiffany Alfonseca’s portrait series, as a first generation Dominican-American; she encodes her work with afro-syncretic insignias, layering her paintings with trans-cultural Dominican-American semiotics. The portraits are a microcosm of the intimate ecosystem of how immigrant communities exist, where as the Dominican enclave build comfort in their tight niche bond over their vivacious and joyous traditional customs.

Both artists are part of the contemporary exploration of African influences in Latinx communities that dismiss biases of separating and suppressing blackness. They challenge the Eurocentric canon of categorization by illustrating the complexity of the ever-changing nuances within the black and brown experience. As cultural activists, Alfonseca and Vasquez make a point to highlight the figures blackness and brownness to signal the complex history of colonialism, colourism, and internal racism that is rooted within Dominican communities. Their paintings offer a new means of acceptance and honor the melding of African influences within Latinx culture. There work is a testament of protest in combating black and brown stereotypes. These artists are essential in expanding the vast representation of blackness and brownness within the contemporary art lexicon.


 For Alfonseca & Vazquez their pallet acts as a sensory conductor, impelling the onlooker into the world of Caribbean color and Neuyorican ambience. The vivid colours and warm tones are staples within Dominican culture. The spirited pinks, rich golds, and tranquil aquas within Alfonseca’s paintings reflect the effervescent decorations adorned in her mother’s apartment in the Bronx. The textural sparkling accents are the focal point within each portrait, emphasizing the figure’s hair, clothing, and furniture. Vasquez’s jewel-toned pallet and electric greens reverberate the lushness within the Dominican landscape. His familial series transports the audience to a peaceful setting encapsulated within a tropical atmosphere.

Como Nosotros Somos is an invitation to honor the Afro-syncretic diaspora within LatinX communities. The gallery and artists welcome viewers to experience the cozy interior world and sentimental mindscapes of Dominican culture.