The Year in Review

a note from donna...

In Latin America and other countries, 25 November is a day to pay tribute to the Mirabal sisters as well as to globally recognize gender violence. On 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

We organized our first 25 November art exhibition in Washington, DC featuring Carolina Mayorga several years ago. This year, we are so pleased to have participated in this important international event once again.

We had a pop-up group exhibition in Barcelona, Spain. Paintings, photography, and video work by artists from China, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US were featured. All the artists currently live in Barcelona and agreed to donate a percentage of art sold to TAMAIA, a local social non-profit cooperative that assists women and girls who have experienced violence. Some of the art confronted aspects of violence straight on like Catalan artist Carla Gallén’s Family Portraits / Retrats de Familia whose digital paintings creatively and empathetically tackled the subject of gender violence by providing visual commentary on children murdered in Spain this year.

We are constantly in awe of D+C Contemporary artists Bianca and Brenda Hofman (Barcelona Hofman). Through photography and ultrashort stories they are able to perfectly capture varying aspects of the human spirit. In Home Sweet Home, the sisters delved into the inner turmoil one may feel. 

barcelona pop-up | photo credit: donna banks, 2017

barcelona pop-up | photo credit: donna banks, 2017

In addition to the art exhibition, Joy Laking’s Invisible Prison monologues were performed. Laking compiled the monologues after interviewing women and men in Nova Scotia, Canada. The monologues were performed in English, Spanish, and Catalan thanks to the hard work of volunteer translators.

D+C Contemporary would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Women’s March Barcelona, the UNiTE campaign, Joy Laking, and the volunteer translators for their assistance in making this event a success.

a note from cecily...

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived and I have one question: where have the past 12 months gone?

Donna and I started D+C Contemporary 2 years ago as a part-time (part-time) passion project - over the past couple of years it has slowly, but organically, evolved. I am so excited to approach the 3rd year because we have so many ideas that we will share in 2018 – many of them were inspired by artists that we covered and projects we did in 2017!

D+C Contemporary pop-ups officially launched this year - the first one was in Mariestad, Sweden and the second was in Barcelona, Spain.  Both events were successful and we are looking forward to more pop-ups and creating a pop-up experience online with the coming year. 

mariestad pop-up | photo credit: cecily ferguson, 2017

mariestad pop-up | photo credit: cecily ferguson, 2017

I am also excited about focusing more on studios (and how the word has evolved). We know artists who have created spaces in their homes, some with studios outside and some who have what we tend to think of as a traditional studio space. Both inside the studio and the new series the studio visit will explore the artist’s process and their tools.

This year I attended Orbero’s Open Art Biennale – which was, as always, incredibly exciting -this biennale has inspired us to create an annual online public art experience. Easy Access: Public Art for All will take place during the summer months. We both believe that public art is such an asset to communities, cities and countries and this is our way of celebrating our appreciation for public art. 

openart 2017, chiaharu shiota, sailing in the sky | photo credit: cecily ferguson

openart 2017, chiaharu shiota, sailing in the sky | photo credit: cecily ferguson

Finally, as many of you might know Donna and I met while attending Howard University as graduate students in the art history department.  We both focused on Caribbean and Latin American art and took a special interest with exile, expat and diaspora artists. We are passionate about migration and immigration! And I believe that D+C Contemporary has arrived to a place that will begin to tell a story about the expat art experience. This is a unique experience that reflects not only one’s history and roots but also a connection to the place that they call home (or their 2nd home).  Moving forward the artists featured and the exhibitions will predominately, but not exclusively, explore the expat experience.

We are incredibly grateful for all the artists, curators, and collectors that continue to inspire us!

Wishing you all a happy + healthy holiday season! xox

Carolina Mayorga


The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

- Aristotle

Carolina Mayorga’s art is striking, captivating, poignant, thought provoking, and often humorous. As an artist, who provides visual commentary and critique on human issues that transcend geographic boundaries, her art is also essential.

Mayorga was born in Colombia and grew up during “a time of exacerbated violence”. No place was safe. No one was safe. Violence was constant and far-reaching. Her recollections of this time are not just facts and events but are sensorial memories which include feelings, perceptions, and behaviours.  Mayorga’s earlier work often explored themes of war and displacement. Site-specific installations and video pieces called attention to the lives of victims, often children, impacted by crises. Through installations such as The Displaced , Orphans, and Snow Clock and video pieces such as La Visita, Mayorga invited the visitor to experience the despair, loss, and hopelessness of these silenced victims. She captures the rapidity in which family life went from normal, happy, and loving to unforeseeable heart-breaking devastation.  

Mayorga relocated to the United States 15 years ago to attend graduate school. At this time, the artist underwent a change in identity. No longer living in the country of her birth, she was now an immigrant in a foreign land. As an artist interested in social and political themes, Mayorga began examining issues of identity and otherness. To that end, she frequently uses her own image “as an interpretation of cultural, ethnic and gendered stereotypical identities”.   

Untitled- from the series Divine Revelations (2012), photo

Untitled- from the series Divine Revelations(2012), photo

One of her most recent photographic series is Divine Revelations. This series of self-portraits is inspired by the depictions of the Madonna in Italian Renaissance art. In preparation for this work, Mayorga traveled to Spain and Italy in 2009 and 2010 where she visited museums, palaces, and churches to examine the Madonna. She states that the Madonna del Granduca and Madonna and Child by Raphael inspired some of her compositions.   

In a recent performance piece, Maid in the USA, the artist provides a commentary on stereotypes and the roles that are “often attributed to immigrants of Hispanic origin.” In Maid in the USA, Mayorga, wearing a traditional Colombian Cumbia dress and holding a broom, cleans the performance site. She worked a seven hour shift as part of the performance. Her work sheds light on the very real and endemic stereotypes in U.S. mainstream media of women whose ancestral roots are in Latin America. While there has been much criticism of Hollywood’s continued portrayal of stereotypical roles, they persist. One famous, recently deceased, U.S. actress of Mexican descent estimated she had been cast as a maid over 150 times.   

Detail of performance at the Corcoran Gallery of Art ( 2012), photo

Detail of performance at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (2012), photo

Whether a site-specific installation, performance, photographic, or video exhibition, visitors are expected to interact with the work. Mayorga’s art is intersubjective. The visitor becomes part of the work.

Maid in the USA  (2012), mixed media

Maid in the USA (2012), mixed media

Mayorga is a keen observer of her surroundings. She draws inspiration from everyday life, her bicultural experience, and her upbringing. It is fitting that her artistic influences include Barbara Kruger, Marina Abramović, Edward Kienholz, William Kentridge, and Louise Bourgeois. While Mayorga does not consider her work as a form of activism, she states “I definitely have a message I want to convey. ... I’m only presenting the issues. I pose questions and leave them open to interpretation.“