Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute | 120 East 125th Street Between Lexington and Park Avenues


On View: October 2016 - March 2017

Renowned curator, Lowery Stokes Sims joined Yasmin Ramirez, Marta Moreno Vega and Regina Bultron Bengoa in curating our inaugural 3-part exhibition Home, Memory, and Future.



Was installed on the street level of our new landmark building. It featured the work of pioneering photographers who chronicled the people, places, and events in East and West Harlem from the 1970s to the present. Their work exemplified the rich interaction between these two distinctive sections within this historic neighborhood. It featured the work of three renowned photographers, Hiram Maristany, Dawoud Bey, and Chester Higgins.



Was installed on the second floor, and featured the work of painters, sculptors and installation artists that demonstrated how HOME represents a universal and universally experienced concept for artists of color from diverse origins. Their selected works demonstrated how MEMORY can be relied upon to recreate, imagine and reconstruct cultural traditions in varied efforts to establish home in distant environments. It featured the works of artists, Antonio Martorell, Abigail DeVille , Pepon Osorio, Whitfield Lovell , Dr. Amalia Mesa-Bains , Adrian "Viajero" Roman , Scherazade Garcia, Nicole Awai .



The virtual exhibition, Mi Querido Barrio (My Beloved Community), is mounted outdoors in "cyberspace" using augmented reality technology, it features site-specific pieces by local artists focusing on landmarking historical sites of importance within the social history of El Barrio. It features the work of artists, Yasmin Hernandez, Adrian "Viajero" Roman, Alejandro Epifanio , Oliver Rios, Andrew Padilla , Edwin Pagan, Bianca DeJesus, Mariona Lloreta, Kearra Amaya Gopee, and Michael Cordero

*Please email and to book a a private tour. 


Lowery Stokes SimsLowery Stokes Sims is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, craft and design Lowery Stokes Sims retired as Curator Emerita from the Museum of Arts and Design, New York in 2015 where she served as the Charles Bronfman International Curator and the William and Mildred Ladson Chief Curator. Sims served on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1999) and as executive director, president and adjunct curator for the permanent collection at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007). At the Museum of Arts and Design Sims co-curated Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (2008) and Dead or Alive: Artists Respond to Nature (2010), and curated Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design (2012). She also conceived and co-curated The Global Africa Project (2010-11) and New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America (2014).

Sims has lectured and guest curated exhibitions nationally and internationally. She was Visiting Professor at Queens College and Hunter College, New York City (2005, 2006), a fellow at the Clark Art Institute and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota (2007) and Distinguished Professor in the Claire Trevor School of Arts, University of California, Irvine in 2014. Sims also served on the selection jury for the World Trade Center memorial (2003-2004) and is a founding board member of ArtTable, Inc. She serves on the boards of the Tiffany Foundation and Art Matters, Inc.


Yasmin RamirezCo-curator Yasmin Ramirez holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Currently an independent curator, Dr. Ramirez?s has collaborated on curatorial projects with The Bronx Museum, El Museo Del Barrio; The Loisaida Center; The Studio Museum in Harlem, Franklin Furnace and Taller Boricua. Her critically acclaimed exhibitions and panels include: Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (2015); Presente: The Young Lords in New York (2015); The Puerto Rican Art Workers and the Construction of the Nuyorican Art Movement (2014); Re-Membering Loisaida: On Archiving and the Lure of the Retro Lens (2009); ?Esto A Veces Tiene Nombre: Latin@ Art Collectives in a Post-Movement Millennium (2008); Voices From Our Communities: Perspectives on a Decade of Collecting at El Museo del Barrio (2000); Pressing the Point: Parallel Expressions in the Graphic Arts of the Chicano and Puerto Rican Movements (1999).

Yasmin Ramirez?s published essays include: The Young Lords Way (2015) Snap Shots: A Short History of the Association of Hispanic Arts (2013); The Creative Class of Color in New York (2009); ?The Activist Legacy of Puerto Rican Artists in New York and the Art Heritage of Puerto Rico? (2007); ?Puerto Rican Light: To Allora and Calzadilla? (2006); ?Nuyorican Visionary: Jorge Soto and the evolution of an Afro-Taino aesthetic at Taller Boricua? (2005); and ?Parallel Lives, Striking Differences: Notes on Chicano and Puerto Rican Graphic Arts of the 1970s? (1999). She is currently writing a book on art movements in East Harlem.




Hiram MaristanyHiram Maristany was born in East Harlem and still calls this neighborhood his home. Over the last five decades he has documented the life and cultural production of this iconic neighborhood that has served as an incubator for the New York Puerto Rican identity, and served as a mentor to numerous Puerto Rican and Latino artists in the city. As he has observed his life and art are guided by the philosophy: ?You have to have heart. You determine who you are. Do something that will mean something even to the people you don?t know. Be about each other for each other.?

Maristany has always combined a sharp political sense and pictorial savvy in his work. In viewing his photographs the viewer is engaged as much by the visual imagination as by the subject matter. He is best known for his association with the radical political group that came to be known as the Young Lords whom he encountered when he was teaching photography at the Community Resource Center on 117th Street. By 1969, he was their official photographer. He also served as director of El Museo del Barrio (also founded in 1969) from 1975 to 1977.


Dawoud BeyDawoud Bey was born as David Edward Smikle in 1953, in Jamaica, Queens, New York. Bey received a BFA in Photography from Empire State College in 1990 and then later finished his MA at the Yale University School of Art. At the age of fifteen, Bey was given his first 35 mm camera but his career as a photographer did not begin until 1975. Inspired particularly by the photographer James Van Der Zee, featured in the exhibition; Harlem on My Mind, Bey began exploring with documentary style photographic techniques. The resulting series of black and white photographs, ?Harlem, USA?, chronicled urban life in the famous African American community and was later exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

Bey has experimented with many innovative approaches and photographic traditions and he uses his artwork as a platform to challenge stereotypical images of African Americans and other historically marginalized groups. Since 1992, Bey has executed projects working with young people, museums and cultural institutions to broaden the participation of various communities whose voices have often been absent in these institutions. He has exhibited worldwide at such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where his works were also included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. The Walker Art Center organized a mid-career survey of his work in 1995 that traveled to institutions throughout the United States and Europe. Bey?s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums around the world. He is currently a professor of photography at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois and shows at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York City.


Chester HigginsChester Higgins is the author of the photo collections Black Woman, Drums of Life, Some Time Ago, Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa ? a comprehensive look at the African Diaspora ? and Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging. His memoir entitled, Echo of the Spirit: A Photographer?s Journey and illustrated Ancient Nubia: African Kingdoms on the Nile. Higgins photographs have appeared in ArtNews, New York Times SundayMagazine, Look, Life, Newsweek, Fortune, Geo, The New Yorker and Archaeology. His work is the topic of two PBS films, ?An American Photographer: Chester Higgins Jr.,? and ?Brotherman? and has been featured on CBS: ?SundayMorning News,? PBS: ?The NewsHour,? ABC: ?Like It Is,? and ?Freedom Forum.?

His solo exhibitions have appeared at the International Center of Photography, The Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of African Art, The Museum of Photographic Arts, The Schomburg Center, The Newark Museum, National Civil Rights Museum, The Field Museum of History, The New-York Historical Society and the Windows Gallery/Kimmel Center of New York University and The Dapper Museum in Paris.


Antonio MartorellAntonio Martorell (b. 1939 Santurce, Puerto Rico). He keeps his art workshop in La Playa de Ponce where he lives and works. He has been artist-in- residence for more than 25 years at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey. He keeps busy at painting, drawing, installation and performance art, graphics, set and costume design, theatre, films, TV, radio, writing for the press and has published three books. Is the host of the WIPR-TV program En la punta de la lengua. This television series has won 5 Emmy Awards. For more than three decades has been a co-host with Rosa Luisa Ma?rquez in the radio program 1,2,3 Probando on Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico. His work has been exhibited and awarded in and out of the country and in private and public collections.


Abigail DeVilleAbigail DeVille (b. 1981 in NYC); she lives and works in New York. DeVille has exhibited a growing constellation of site-specific installations in the United States and Europe. Her most recent exhibitions include LANDMARK, Socrates Sculpture Park, (2016), Only When It?s Dark Enough You Can See The Stars, The Contemporary, (2016), Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016. Hauser Wirth & Schimmel (2016) AMERICA. Galerie Michel Rein (2015), Nobody Knows My Name, Monique Meloche Gallery (2015), The Day the Earth Stood Still, Radcliffe Institute (2015), Puddle, pothole, portal, Sculpture Center (2014) Playing With Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts and Mischievous Actions, El Museo del Barrio (2014) Material Histories. The Studio Museum in Harlem (2014), Outside the Lines. Contemporary Art Museum Houston (2014) Bronx Calling, Bronx Museum of the Arts (2013), Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Center, at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), XXXXXXX, Iceberg Projects (2013), Fore, The Studio Museum Harlem, New York (2012), Future Generation Art Prize Exhibition, Pinchuk Art Centre, (2012), If I don?t think I?m sinking, look what a hole I?m in, Night Gallery (2012), First Among Equals, ICA (2012), The Ungovernables, New Museum (2012), Bosch Young Talent Show, Stedelijk Museum, s-Hertogenbosch (2011).


Pepon OsorioPepon Osorio, best known for large-scale installations, was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1955. He was educated at the Universidad Inter-Americana in Puerto Rico and Herbert H. Lehman College in New York, and received an MA from Columbia University in 1985. Osorio?s pieces, influenced by his experience as a social worker in The Bronx, usually evolve from an interaction with the neighborhoods and people among which he is working; he says, ?My principal commitment as an artist is to return art to the community.? A recent example is "Tina?s House," a project created in collaboration with a family recovering from a devastating fire. The house?a tabletop-size art piece?tells the story of the night of the fire and those affected, and is traveling the country in a series of ?home visits?: a home visit invites a new family to live with the art work for a period of at least one week, allowing the story of "Tina?s House" to be told in many homes and environments. Osorio?s work has been shown at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; and El Museo de Arte Contempora?neo de Puerto Rico. Pepo?n Osorio lives in Philadelphia.


Whitfield LovellWhitfield Lovell is internationally renowned for his installations that incorporate masterful portraits of anonymous African Americans. Using his personal archive of hundreds of studio photographs of African Americans from between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement, Lovell often pairs his subjects with found objects, evoking personal memories, ancestral connections, and the collective American past.

Lovell?s major installations and exhibitions include: Visitation: The Richmond Project, which traveled to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, the Columbus Museum in Georgia, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia; Deep River, which was first exhibited at Hunter Museum of American Art in Tennessee then travelled to the Jepson Center for the Arts in Georgia and the Cummer Museum in Florida; and Whispers From the Walls, which received much critical acclaim and toured nationally, appearing at venues including the Seattle Art Museum and New York?s Studio Museum in Harlem.


Dr. Amalia Mesa-BainsDr. Amalia Mesa-Bains is an internationally renowned artist, scholar, and curator. Throughout her career, Mesa-Bains has expanded understandings of Latina/o artists? references to spiritual practices and vernacular traditions through her altar installations, articles, and exhibitions, and in 1992; she was awarded a Distinguished Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. Her work has been shown at institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris, and the New Museum and international venues in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ireland, Sweden, England France and Spain. In 2011, her work was featured as part of NeoHooDoo: Art for A Forgotten Faith, and in 2013, she recontextualized objects from the collections of the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles in New World Wunderkammer. As a cultural critic, she has co- authored along with bell hooks Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism. She founded and directed the Visual and Public Art department at California State University at Monterey Bay where she is now Professor Emerita. Mesa-Bains? community work includes board of trustee positions with the Mexican Museum in San Francisco and advisory boards for the Galeria de la Raza, and the Social Public Resource Center in Los Angeles.


Adrian RomanAdrian Roman (Viajero) currently has an installation on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery until 2017, and it will then be on tour at the Tacoma Art Museum, Art Museum of South Texas, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art until 2018. In October 2016 Roma?n will be exhibiting at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York City for it's grand re-opening exhibit "Home". In 2012 he exhibited at the Museo De Arte De Caguas, Puerto Rico, which won Best Exhibit 2012 for it?s ?AFROLATINOS? exhibition. Adrian?s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in the United States and Puerto Rico.


Scherazade GarciaScherazade Garcia was born in The Dominican Republic(1966) has lived in New York since she arrived to study in 1986 to attend Parsons The New School for Design with a full scholarship based on the quality of her work.Scherezade received her AAS from Altos de Chavon The School of Design, La Romana, DR, her BFA from Parsons The New School for Design, NY and her MFA from The City College of New York, NYC.

Her work frequently evokes memories of faraway home and the hopes and dreams that accompany planting roots in a new land. Garcia?s work is included in the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington DC, El Museo del Barrio in NYC, The Housatonic Museum of Art in CT, and El Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo, DR. She has exhibited at museums and art centers such as BRIC, Brooklyn,NY, No Longer Empty@ Sugar Hill Museum, The Nathan Cummings Foundation,NY,The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington , DC, El Museo del Barrio, NY, The Newark Museum of Art, NJ, and the Havana Biennale, Havana ,Cuba and many other venues.

Her art has been reviewed regularly by the media as The New York Times, Art Nexus, The Wall Street Journal,and El Diario. Garcia is currently faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. This upcoming summer, Scherezade is working on an art commission for Columbia University in NYC. She is also represented by Lyle Reitzel Art Gallery in Santo Domingo, DR.

Nicole Awai

Nicole Awai is a multi media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her Master?s Degree in Multimedia Art from the University of South Florida in 1996. She attended the Showhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency in 1997 and was artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2000. Awai was a featured artist in the 2005 Initial Public Offerings series at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has been included in seminal exhibitions such as Greater New York:New Art in New York Now, at P.S. 1/ MOMA (2000), the Biennale of Ceramic in Contemporary Art (2003), Open House: Working in Brooklyn (2004), Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007) both at the Brooklyn Museum and the 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea. Her work has also been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary, The Vilcek Foundation, The Biennale of the Caribbean in Aruba and Susan Inglett Gallery. Recent exhibitions include SHE at ArtsWestchester and Splotch at Sperone Westwater. Awai was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2011 and an Art Matters Grant in 2012. She served as a Critic at the Yale School of Art from 2009-2015.


Yasmin Hernandez

Yasmin Hernandez was born and raised in Brooklyn to parents from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's struggle against colonialism, and the pursuit of liberation globally, have informed her work over the last 20 years. Her 2011 East Harlem mural Soldaderas honors painter Frida Kahlo and poet Julia de Burgos, inspiring continued solidarity between the Mexican/Chicanx and Puerto Rican communities. Since moving from NYC to Puerto Rico in 2014, her work is centered on restoring Borike?n to a liberated state through more spiritual, holistic, sustainable practices as taught by her ancestors. Her art has been supported by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Puffin Foundation, and The Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Yasmin studied art at the LaGuardia High School of the Arts and Cornell University in New York. She has worked as an artist educator with the Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio in New York City and Taller Puertorriquen?o in Philadelphia. Today Yasmin runs an art studio and hosts art classes for women from her hilltop home in Moca, and she also works as a K-12 art teacher in Aguadilla. Her art can be seen alongside historical narratives on her website


Alejandro Epifanio

Alejandro Epifanio is a sculptor, painter, printmaker, designer and curator, a multifaceted artist born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Alejandro received his BFA in Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts of Manhattan. His work focus in the physical and metaphysical nexus of the arts and community. For more than 10 years it has remained close to the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem and South Bronx communities of NYC.


Oliver Rios

Oliver Rios was born from Puerto Rican parents and raised in El Barrio, Oliver Rios is a visual artist who is committed to raising awareness. His innovative and artistic technique empowers his creativity daily. He was inspired by The Hip Hop culture in the late 1970?s and spray can art in the late 1980?s. His recognized anti-violence and memorial murals helped bring awareness to Spanish Harlem in the early 1990?s. He learned to airbrush on t-shirts and painted storefronts for local business?, in the neighborhood. This planted the seed of entrepreneurship. He attended Art and Design High School and City Tech College majoring in art and advertising design. Oliver continues to document the changing neighborhood of East Harlem with the use of traditional and digital photography. His passion and creativity have supported his career in fashion, editorial photography, advertising design and digital art. Creator of Orios Designs, and as a creative consultant, he continues to develop cutting edge ideas that help generate positive results. His mission is to showcase uplifting and meaningful images through photography, visual design and typography, while striving to inspire the human spirit. For more about Oliver Rios and Orios Designs visit


Andrew Padilla

Andrew Padilla is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and independent journalist, born and raised in East Harlem, NYC. He is currently profiling displacement in America through a series of documentary shorts entitled ?El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA?. From Hostos to Harvard, Andrew has lectured on urban politics across the US. His writing has been featured in NPR Latino, City Limits, Latino Rebels and La Respuesta.


Edwin Pagan

Edwin Pagan is a New York-based photographer, filmmaker, cinematographer, curator and cultural activist with a rare blend of creative and administrative experience including over 25-years in community organizing, as well as extensive production experience in the documentary and narrative film sectors.

Paga?n has worked extensively as an arts technical assistance provider at Bronx Council on the Arts, IFP Market & Conference, Association of Hispanic Arts, and Black Filmmaker Foundation, and served on the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Independent

Producers (NALIP) and Hispanic Organization Latino Actors (HOLA). He has also served on numerous juries and selection committees for the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), New York International Latino Film Festival and Tribeca Institutes' Tribeca All Access Connects initiative. Paga?n frequently speaks on panels related to filmmaking, particularly the expansion and integration of filmmakers of color into the entertainment industry.

Paga?n has curated the NewLatino Filmmakers series at the renowned cinematheque, Anthology Film Archives, for the past 14 years. He is a founding member of the acclaimed Seis del Sur photography collective. He currently works as program manager of the Bronx Culture Collective (BxCC) in the South Bronx.


Bianca DeJesus

Bianca DeJesus was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She is Puerto Rican and Dominican but identifies with all of the Caribbean and places of African Diaspora; consequently she is very much a student of the world. Bianca attended a small liberal arts college in Baltimore, Maryland where she was introduced to the art of collage and began to explore drawing and water coloring. She graduated with a bachelor?s degree in English, minored in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as Africana Studies. Bianca is now pursuing her master?s in New York. She recalls visiting the islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as a child and feeling an intense connection to those places as being her true home, although she never lived there. Her Mi Querido Barrio Exhibit is a physical manifestation of that bond and aims to highlight the brightness and perseverance of the individual during times of gentrification.


Mariona Lioreta

Mariona Lloreta is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and film director original from Spain with North African roots. Her insatiable thirst for documenting cultures around the world while exploring the complexities of identity and heritage has brought her to transcend the boundaries of her native Barcelona to work and live in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, Italy or the United States.

Some recent projects include short film ?Amenze, Entre Dois Mundos? directed in Brazil, which reflects on themes of belonging, foreignness, migration, identity and alienation as it explores the intersectionality and relationship between a newly arrived African woman and her surroundings; her short film ?Sankofa: Part I? explores skin bleaching in Ghana and the complexities of identity, race and the social repercussions of colonization through a woman who bleaches her skin to be more accepted by society and it has been incorporated into University-level curriculum for social studies; and her ?Naija Nights? mixed media series, which reflects the beauty she encountered as she journeyed in Nigeria for two years. Mariona strives to become not just a visual artist, but a leader in the quest to enact positive change through the arts.


Kearra Amaya Gopee

Kearra Amaya Gopee (b. 1994) i s a Trinidadian visual artist and documentary photographer. Born in Miami-Dade County, Florida to Trinidadian parents, she moved to her maternal family?s home in Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago at the age of 3 where she stayed until the age of 18, when she moved to New York where she now resides. At 17, she was hired to work as a photographer for the Trinidad Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago?s oldest newspaper. During her time there, she discovered her affinity for research and documentation, which is now an integral part of her practice.

Most recently, she has presented work at the Caribbean Studies Association conference in Haiti, as well as having been part of group exhibitions at Alice Yard, Trinidad and Tobago, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba and UFES Gallery in Vito?ria, Brazil.
Photo Credit: Elliott Brown Jr


Michael Cordero

Michael Cordero is multi-media artist from Brooklyn, NY whose work has been exhibited in New York, Puerto Rico, San Francisco and Guatemala City. Michael has been a Teaching artist with Urban Arts Partnership (UAP) since January of 2008 and recently has transitioned into the role of EdTECH Manager. Michael has designed and coordinated numerous youth based art programs at UAP. His youth?s award-winning work has been featured in numerous film festivals and youth media conferences.




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