Please join us for a conversation between P.3 Artist Firelei Báez and José Torres-Tama discussing Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Thursday, January 15, 6-7 PM, Nix Library, 1401 S. Carrollton Avenue
Junot Díaz’s tragicomic novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao follows the life of Oscar De León, a nerdy, overweight Dominican-American teenager, as he comes of age in Paterson, New Jersey. Like many of Díaz’s short stories, it explores issues of masculinity, assimilation, dias- pora, and Dominican-American identity. The book won the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize, the Dayton Peace Prize in Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008.
The work of the New York–based painter Firelei Báez often presents familial and diasporic narratives that speak to her experience growing up in the United States with Dominican and Haitian parents. Báez paints bold images of full-figured women with thick hips who carry more than physical weight on their person: they are adorned, seemingly collaged, with striking patterns. They flirt with myth, fable, and fantasy to urge the viewer to question and investigate the stories being told with each image.
Báez challenges us to think not only about the way Western societies have been conditioned to understand physical beauty but to consider the aesthetics of adornment, gesture, and movement and the ways texture can give life to a painting. Her work is steeped in history—addressing migration, colonialism, slavery, and the traditional gendering of the Caribbean landscape as female. Báez’s work is currently on view at the Joan Mitchell Center Studios and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans as part of Prospect.3: Notes for Now.
Ecuadorian-born José Torres-Tama is an NEA award recipient for his genre-bending performances and a Louisiana Theater Fellow. As a writer/poet, performance and visual artist, he explores the underbelly of the American Dream mythology, the Latino immigrant experience, and New Orleans Creole culture. Since 1995, he has toured his performances nationally and internationally. Diálogos Books New Orleans recently published Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares, a collection that compiles twenty-five years of his performance poetry.
P.3Reads, a Prospect New Orleans Public Program, is inspired by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans’ vision for Prospect.3: Notes for Now (P.3). The program takes place monthly in different NOPL branches. Artists who are featured in P.3 discuss with members of the New Orleans community the books that have been important in their lives and work.
FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Refreshments will be served.
P.3Reads is generously supported by Henry M. Lambert and R. Carey Bond, with additional funding provided by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Edward Wisner Donation Fund/City of New Orleans, the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and the National Council of Jewish Women/Greater New Orleans Section.