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Gender and the Caribbean Body

  • The Center for Worker Education 25 Broadway, 7th Floor New York, NY 10004 (map)

“Gender and the Caribbean Body,” a Conversation with Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Gerard H. Gaskin, and Kettly Mars, moderated by Maja Horn, introduction by Christian Flaugh  

From throughout the Caribbean – the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Trinidad – writer Kettly Mars, visual and performing artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez, and photographer Gerard H. Gaskin come together to discuss what it means to be a Caribbean artist operating identity at home and within the cultural centers of the ‘global north.’ How does an artist negotiate one’s nationality with one’s varying citizenships to communities throughout the many ‘Caribbeans’ that take form in Amsterdam, New York, London, or Paris? How do varying media and performance styles contribute not only to how art is created in the ‘Caribbean,’ but also to how the ‘Caribbean body’ is perceived by the general public? How is gender affected by these processes? 


Image on left: Nicolás Dumit Estévez, C Room, 2014. An eight-hour performance at Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic. C Room is part of En Mas': Carnival 21st Century Style, curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson Photograph: Nicolás Dumit Estévez © 2014





Image on right: Book cover for Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene,  Photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin (Duke University Press, 2013), Tez, Evisu Ball, Manhattan, New York 2010.








DATE: Monday, April 28, 2014

TIME: 7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. with reception to follow                                                            

RSVP encouraged.


Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education of the City College of New York    

25 Broadway, 7th Floor (downtown, near Wall Street, in front of ‘bull statue’)

New York, NY 10004  Please bring photo i.d. for security.

Contact: 212 925 6625, ext 0

SUBWAYS: 4, 5 to Bowling Green; 1, R to Rector Street; J, Z to Broad Street


NICOLÁS DUMIT ESTÉVEZ treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively or through experiences where the quotidian and art overlap. He has exhibited and performed extensively in the U.S., as well as internationally at venues such as Madrid Abierto/ARCO, The IX Havana Biennial, PERFORMA 05 and 07, IDENSITAT, Prague Quadrennial, The Pontevedra Biennial, The Queens Museum of Art, MoMA, Printed Matter, P.S. 122, Hemispheric Institute of Performance Art and Politics, Princeton University, Rutgers University, The Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, The MacDowell Colony, Provisions Library, El Museo del Barrio, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, The Center for Book Arts, Longwood Art Gallery/BCA, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Franklin Furnace, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. During the past seven years Estévez has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the performance art field. Montano and Estévez have also collaborated on several performances. Residencies attended include P.S.1/MoMA, Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He has received grants from Art Matters, Lambent Foundation, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Printed Matter and Puffin Foundation. Estévez Holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Estévez has curated exhibitions and programs for El Museo del Barrio, the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, Longwood Art Gallery/Bronx Council on the Arts, and the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and for the Filmoteca de Andalucía, Córdoba, Spain. He is currently curating an exhibition from El Museo del Barrio’s permanent collection. Publications include Pleased to Meet You, Life as Material for Art and Vice Versa (editor) and For Art’s Sake. Born in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 2011 Estévez was baptized as a Bronxite; a citizen of the Bronx.


GERARD H. GASKIN, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Hunter College in 1994. As a freelance Photographer his work is widely published in newspapers and magazines in the United States and abroad including; The New York Times, Ebony, King, Teen People and Caribbean Beat. Gaskin’s photographs have also been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the country and abroad including The Brooklyn Museum, The Queens Museum of Arts, Goethe-Institute Accra, Accra, Ghana and Imagenes Havana: Habana Vieja, Cuba. His work is represented in the permanent collections of The Museum of the City of New York and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His first full book Legendary: Inside House Ballroom Scene Gaskin's has won many important awards, grants and residences including the 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize, and the 2010 Light Work’s Artists-in-Residence in Syracuse, NY. In 2002 he was awarded The New York Foundation for the Arts Artist fellowship for Photography.


KETTLY MARS was born in 1958 in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, where she lives. She is a bold and evocative writer who offers fresh insights on contemporary realities and a vibrant, nuanced exposé of Haïtian society. Sensuality and eroticism are a significant aspect of her literature, her way to bring down the barriers and travel freely into her fascinating and disturbing characters. Kettly Mars has received the Jacques Stephen Alexis prize for short story (1996), the Senghor Prize for literature (2006), the Barbancourt grant (2011), and the Prince Claus prize for Culture and Development (2011). She is the president of the womens’ writer committee of the PEN Club Haïti, president of the jury of the literary prize “Prix Henri Deschamps,” and member of the jury for awards of the Prince Claus Fund. Her novels and short stories have been translated into Danish, Dutch, German, English, Italian, and Japanese. 


MAJA HORN is assistant professor at Barnard College in Spanish and Latin American Cultures. Having published widely on literature and visual and performing arts, her book Masculinity after Trujillo: The Politics of Gender in Caribbean Literature (University Press of Florida, 2014) examines the interface of Caribbean cultural agency and the postcolonial state, and more precisely how Caribbean cultural forces, including forces from “below” and in “embodied” forms, may evolve to challenge and reconfigure the political in its more conventional sense. Horn received her B.A. in Latin American Literature from Smith College in 1998, an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU in 2002, and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Cornell University in 2005. Before joining the Barnard faculty in 2006, she was a research associate at FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she developed and taught a performance studies concentration.


CHRISTIAN FLAUGH (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures) specializes in francophone Caribbean and Sub-Saharan African studies, freak culture, disability, gender, and theatre and performance studies.  He is a member of the Transnational and Transcolonial Caribbean Research Studies Group (Columbia University/CUNY) and is co-founder of the French-language theatre troupe, Le Théâtre de la Chandelle Verte.  He has articles published in Forum for Modern Language Studies (2009), Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (2010), Theatre Topics (2011), and L'Esprit Créateur (2013).  He is also the author of Operation Freak:  Narrative, Identity, and the Spectrum of Bodily Abilities (Montreal:  McGill-Queen's UP, 2012) and his current book project has the preliminary title of Revolting Scenes:  Action, Aesthetic, and Affect of Francophone Caribbean Performance and Text.


This event is the culmination of a reading group organized by the Transnational and Transcolonial Caribbean Studies Research Group, funding from Diversity Projects Development Fund at York College for 2013-2014 (Kelly Baker Josephs), the PSC-CUNY Research Award Program, for a specific project titled: “An Island and Two Metropoles: The Dominican Republic, Haiti, New York, and Paris” (Alessandra Benedicty and Jerry W. Carlson), the Willen Seminar Initiative Committee for Faculty Diversity and Development at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the M.A. in the Study of the Americas at the City College of New York. Special thanks to Bison Books, Kaiama L. Glover, Sophie Schiavo, Jeanine Herman, FACE's French Voices award, Laurence Marie, Anne-Sophie Hermil, and Marine Baudoin at the French Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, as well as Davi Saroop, Trisha Baboolal, Sujan Niraula, and Ellis Brooks-Rua at the City College of New York. 


The "Gender and the Caribbean Body" reading group members are: Grace Ali, Alessandra Benedicty, Raphael Dalleo, Sophie Ellman-Golan, Yasmine Espert, Christopher Ian Foster, Kaiama L. Glover, Maja Horn, Sherley Jean-Pierre, Kelly Baker Josephs, Natalie M Leger, Tshala Richards, Vanessa K. Valdés, and Christopher Winks.