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For a few months in 2018, Dominican Republic-born, New York-based artist Fierlei Báez immersed herself in the vast archives of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of The New York Public Library. With help from librarians, archivists, and curators at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Báez researched dozens of stories of women of color who had made remarkable contributions to society.

These women inspired Firelei Báez: Joy Out of Fire, a series of dynamic paintings now on view at the Schomburg Center’s Latimer/Edison Gallery. Blending bright colors and portraiture, the paintings serve as a mini history lesson, offering long overdue recognition for a number of activists, writers, artists, dancers, and politicians.

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