The Experience of Submerging Oneself in Art, with Raquel Paiewonsky as the Head of the Fine Arts Major

Known as one of the most successful artists from the Dominican Republic, this chavonera has worked with our school since the day she became a fine-arts professional. Since 1991 she has shared—one way or another—with innumerable budding talents what she calls “the extraordinary tools that art offers to learn and connect us with the world in a unique manner.” And she has succeeded determinedly through painting, sculpture, installation, and photography, often combining more than one of these mediums.

These days life has confronted her with a new challenge: to become the new coordinator of CHAVÓN’s Fine Arts major. To that end she has surrounded herself with a team of renowned artist–teachers who share her passion for art and for guiding students in their creative process and their growth in art.

If CHAVÓN has left an indelible mark on Raquel, she has the decided goal of paying back all she received from her alma mater; that’s why she plans for the major she is leading to become, as she puts it, “a kind of laboratory where students experiment with multiple mediums, articulate their vision and thoughts about art, and acquire the tools to empower themselves and insert themselves in their environment through the practice of art.”

She also hopes that Fine Arts students will work on acquiring the essential skills to be able to communicate visually and sensually; and she is proposing an approach to the multidisciplinary character of art today, in which categories are not the most important thing, and any object or experience is a channel for expression.

As a sign of her goals, she fervently affirms, “I will accompany students in a creative process in which critical thinking, knowledge of history, and conscious visual referents are a fundamental part of their growth.” And as an authority on the subject, she knows well whereof she speaks, since her work has taken her around the world and has been exhibited in such permanent collections as those of the RISD Museum, in Providence, Rhode Island; the Museum of Latin American Art, in Long Beach, California; and the Daros Latinamerica Collection, in Zurich.

Her experience also includes participation in expositions, residencies, and biennials in the United States, Europe, and Asia, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean. Highlights among these are the Venice Biennials of 2009 and 2013; the VIII, IX, and XXI Biennials of Havana, Cuba; the X Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador; the III Biennial of the End of the World, in Ushuaia, Argentina; and the Jamaica Biennial of 2017.

She is also an active participant in art tours in our country, in which she demonstrates a great interest in promoting spaces for dialog and education within cultural platforms. And as co-creator of the collective Quintapata (from 2008 to 2015) she developed joint projects with the aim of encouraging art and arts dialog in the Dominican Republic and creating connections with other contexts and spaces.

Notably, she won the Eduardo León Jimenes Grand Prize in 2006, 2008, and 2012 and won prizes at the XX and XXII National Biennial of Visual Arts in Santo Domingo. In 2015 she was pleased to receive the support of the Davidoff Art Initiative for a residency in the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, in Berlin.

With Raquel Paeiwonsky at the helm, budding CHAVÓN artists will have the good fortune not only to touch the human spirit and connect with the world and with one another, but also to benefit from the broad experience of this artist as their principal mentor in the fascinating adventure of learning.