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Dominican multimedia artist Firelei Báez named ICA Watershed artist for 2020

A rendering of Firelei Báez’s ICA Watershed installation.Rendering by Nate Garner/Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York

The Institute of Contemporary Art has announced plans for a third summer season at its East Boston Watershed space. The museum has commissioned Dominican multimedia artist Firelei Báez to fill the venue with her largest sculptural installation to date, an architectural sculpture that will “reimagine ancient ruins as though the sea had receded from the Watershed floor to reveal the archaeology of human history in the Caribbean,” according to a statement. It opens May 24 and runs through Sept. 2.

Born in Santiago de los Caballeros and based out of New York, Báez, 38, is known as much for her intricate illustrations and canvas work as her large-scale sculptures. She cites influences including anthropology, science fiction, “women’s work,” and diasporic narratives. According to a statement by chief curator Eva Respini , Báez’s piece for the Watershed will cast African, European, and Caribbean cultures and histories into “an imaginative realm.”


Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, the Watershed opened in July 2018 with two works by American artist Diana Thater. Summer 2019 brought the US premiere of “Purple,” a six-channel video installation by British artist John Akomfrah. Admission to the Watershed is free.


Chris Triunfo can be reached at