By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — Plantains and palm trees grow from a map of Manhattan.
A man with two heads deliberates whether to go left or right on a triptych panel featuring the George Washington Bridge.
These are some of the images explored in a new art exhibition that attempts to reflect the lives of the Dominican people living in New York, often split between two islands: Hispaniola and Manhattan.
The artwork is set to inaugurate the brand-new CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) Gallery in Upper Manhattan on Friday.
"We opened the CUNY DSI Gallery to create a space that celebrates and showcases artists with a unique perspective on the Dominican experience in the United States," Dr. Ramona Hernandez, the institute's director, said in a statement.
"While not restricted to artists of Dominican descent, we are especially interested in their work,” she continued. “We would like to share their complex and nuanced interpretation of the Dominican experience with as broad a public as possible."
The group show, titled "Manifestaciones," consists of a print portfolio of 12 pieces of artwork by Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, "a print collective and collaborative project of Dominican artists who work or live in and around New York City," the statement noted.
CUNY DSI is the first university-based research institute in the U.S. devoted to the study of people of Dominican descent, and its new gallery is the only exhibit space in the city devoted to works of art by and about Dominican people.
The gallery is located in the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Archives and Library in the North Academic Center on the campus of the City College of New York at West 138th Street and Convent Avenue.
An opening reception is planned at the gallery on Fri., Oct. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m., and advance registration is required.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 21, with varying gallery hours posted on the DSI website.