Tag Archives: history

Contemporary Classical Art

Inspired by the Old Masters, contemporary painter Elizabeth Colomba (b1973) shows black people in classical settings. Using iconography as a tool, she re-interprets history while at the same time challenging and exploring issues of identity.

Of Martinique descendant, Elizabeth Colomba, was born and raised in Paris. She was classically trained at the Auguste Renoir, the Estienne School of Art and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. She uses both oil and watercolors.

She deliberately chooses a classical context to make her paintings look and feel historical. Her theme however, is very modern. Historically black people in art have been portrayed either as anonymous, less-than-human entities or playing banjos in raggedy clothes, smiling meekly at an absent observer.

Colomba’s paintings change that. She inserts black individuals into classical settings and re-interprets their place in history. Her paintings redefine how black people have been conditioned to exist, and how they have been conditioned to reflect upon themselves.

Elizabeth Colomba has exhibited her paintings in Los Angeles, New York City and Switzerland. As a visual artist she has contributed to feature films like Romeo and Juliet, One Hour Photo, Jesse James and A Single Man.

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Art Exposition: ‘Bloodlines’ by Firelei Báez

Upcoming Dominican artist Firelei Báez this week opened her first solo exhibition. It is called ‘Bloodlines’ and can be seen at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Firelei Báez (1981) raised in Dajabón, a hill in the Dominican Republic that borders with Haiti, created several new paintings for this exposition.


by Jorge Cuartas

The exposition explores themes like black culture; Afro-Caribbean folklore; the cultural ambiguity of the Caribbean; and the black resistance movement in the Caribbean and the United States. Báez combines watercolors, sketches and sculptures into unique detailed works of art which blend past, present and future using decorative elements of fashion and body ornamentation.

Bloodlines Highlights

  • Man Without a Country, 2014—A highly detailed work composed of over 144 small drawings that crafts parallels between obscure episodes of history and contemporary social struggles
  • Patterns of Resistance, 2015—A new series of blue and white drawings centered on a textile-pattern created by Báez, using different political references from social movements in the black diaspora in the Unites States and the Caribbean
  • Bloodlines, 2015—A new series of portraits inspired by the tignon, a headdress which free women of color were obligated to use by law in18th century New Orleans

Paintings used in this article:

  1. Those who douse it  (detail)
  2. Man without a country (detail)
  3. Bloodlines (detail)
The exposition will be on view until February 28, 2016, at PAMM: 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, Florida

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