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Firelei Báez: Sueño de la Madrugada (A Midnight’s Dream)
28 Jun - 8 Sep 2024

A bight painting of red berries and dark brown hair

Firelei Báez, Fruta Fina, Fruta Estrana (Lee Monument), 2022. Oil and acrylic on archival printed canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York

Sueño de la Madrugada (A Midnight’s Dream) is Firelei Báez’s first solo exhibition in the UK. Known for her striking paintings, she also makes drawings, installations, and sculptures. Báez takes over the South London Gallery with new immersive installations and large abstract paintings. She uses rich colours, elements from nature, sound and light to reflect on complex colonial histories.  

The exhibition is a journey through vibrant spaces where ecology, power, and resistance interact.  

 Through research and critical engagement with archives, Báez examines the legacies of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. For her, myths and folklore are tools of cultural and spiritual resistance. Sueño de la Madrugada (A Midnight’s Dream) shares stories of the Ciguapa, a mythological figure from Dominican folklore; Atabey, the Taino mother earth spirit; Oshun, the Yoruba god of rivers, love, beauty, and prosperity; and Erzili, a spirit of love from Haitian Vodou.  

 These mythical figures invite viewers to reconsider what it means to be human, and to imagine freedom from earthly constraints. 

 “My works are propositions, meant to create alternate pasts and potential futures, questioning history and culture in order to provide a space for reassessing the present.” — Firelei Báez 

The exhibition is curated by the 2023-24 New Curators fellows: Carol Bedoy, Courtney Brown, Felix Choong, Lemeeze Davids, Rosie Fitter, Lucia Jurikova, Aditi Kapoor, Makella Ama Ketedzi, Rey Londres, Nikita Sena Quarshie and Amandine Vabre Chau. New Curators offers aspiring curators from lower socio-economic backgrounds a paid, 12-month intensive curatorial training from its base at the South London Gallery. 



Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Dominican Republic) received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union’s School of Art, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2024, Báez will be the subject of her first major US survey at the I.C.A. Boston, curated by Eva Respini. Her work has been presented in many significant international exhibitions, including the inaugural installation of the I.C.A. Watershed, Boston (2021), curated by Eva Respini, now on view at The Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas, and The Milk of Dreams at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022), curated by Cecilia Alemani. Recent solo presentations of Báez’s work include exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and Pérez Art Museum Miami. 


Exhibition view

Firelei Báez A Drexcyen chronocommons (To win the war you fought it sideways), 2019.
Mixed-media installation; two paintings, hand-painted wood frame, perforated tarp, printed mesh, handmade paper over found objects, artificial foliage, books, Oman incense, and palo santo
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York
Firelei Báez, Memory Board Listening (June 7th), 2015.
Acrylic and Sennelier ink on Yupo paper
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York
Firelei Báez, How to slip out of your body quietly, 2018.
Oil and acrylic on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York