The word “diaspora” is used so often by writers (like me) that its meaning is almost completely diffused. In a way this make sense, though, for it reveals that these experiences are inherently not monolithic, but rather fall on an infinite spectrum of roots established, lives lived, and identities forged by people who share, in some capacity, a common ancestral home. Few artists visualize this concept more viscerally than Scherezade Garcia, a Dominican-born painter, printmaker, and installation artist who has lived in New York for 30 years. Her works are alive with great swirls and sweeps, vibrant clashing colors, dreamlike figures who dissolve into abstraction, and jarring juxtapositions of pop and religious imagery. You can sense the intensive labor and boundless creative energy Garcia uses to channel the culture of her heritage, the seeming wildness of the work a deliberate attack against the oppressive forces of civilization (“being civilized”) and assimilation, against the sanitized image of the Caribbean as a serene vacationland. Her works mix real and surreal, loud kitsch and somber memories, creating a feeling of disorientation that seems, precisely, to be the point.
Scherezade Garcia, Teorías de libertad: Real Armada de los Bambis II, 2014