Eliazar Ortiz

For his CCI Fellowship project Guáyiga Maniel, Eliazar Ortiz proposed the recovery of the legacy, memory, and ancestral knowledge of Afro-Antillean cultures. In particular, he sought to reflect on the relationship and exchanges established between indigenous and maroon communities as they adapted to the new colonized ecosystems. Inspired by ethnobotany and Afro-Antillean mythologies, Ortiz interprets the cimarrón (maroon) landscape from a contemporary perspective. In this project, the artist experiments with organic materials and pigments collected from his own natural environment. Through his drawings, paintings, photography, performance, and video work, Ortiz questions conventional historical narratives and interrogates whether living in greater communion with our environment can shed light on our drift as a species. 

Eliazar Ortiz studied engineering and photography. He first exhibited his work in the underground artistic movements of Buenos Aires through feminist and LGBTQI collectives. Upon his return to Santo Domingo, he received an Honorable Mention at the 27th Santo Domingo Biennial, among other awards and recognitions. He settled in Las Terrenas and began to work with materials from his surroundings, incorporating the natural environment into his work. Nature provides him with structures and metaphors through which to explore masculinity, language, and colonial/decolonial discourses, and he uses his camera to document his findings. In 2018, he participated in the 27th Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, where he was awarded a residency in Mémorial ACTe in Guadaloupe (2019), and was selected for the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In 2020, he participated in ZONAMACO SUR in Mexico City, and was awarded the Catapult Stay Home Artist Residency by Kingston Creative, Fresh Milk, and the American Friends of Jamaica.  

In 2022, he presented the work he created as a CCI Fellow at the Centro Cultural de España in Santo Domingo in his exhibition Guáyiga Maniel, which was on view from November 18, 2022 through January 14, 2023.  

For more information and to read the curatorial text written by guest curator Iberia Pérez González, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Associate at PAMM, click here.  

Eliazar Ortiz. Marchantas, 2022. African tulip petals, clay, mica and annatto, genipap pigments, Campeche wood, chinolita cimarrona, butterfly scales, and pencil on Arches paper. 22.8 x 29.9 inches. Photo courtesy the artist.

Eliazar Ortiz. Palo pa’ la Guáyiga, 2022. Petals of cosmos and lilies flowers, indigo, Campeche wood and jagua pigments, clay, mica and bija oils, guázara berries and pencil on Arches paper. 45.2 x 74.8 inches. Photo courtesy the artist.

Eliazar Ortiz. Luá Guáyiga injerto Púa. Indigo dye, clay, butterfly scales, pen on paper. 24 x 18.1 inches. Photo courtesy the artist.

Eliazar working on the Tigerites series (2021) in his studio in Samaná, Dominican Republic. Video courtesy the artist.