EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 5, 2013

Learning culture through photography

Local exhibit features photographers from Dominican Republic

LAWRENCE — As an art lover, Mori Espaillat wanted to share her passion with area residents.

Espaillat and her husband, Benny, who live in Haverhill, organized an exhibit at the Essex Art Center featuring five renowned photographers from the Dominican Republic.

Titled “From the Pinhole to Digital Photography,” the exhibit features the works of Vitico Cabrera, Jose Joaquin Lama, Elka Diaz and Alex Guerrero.

“We believe art is culture and wanted to bring that to Lawrence, which has given us so much,’’ Espaillat said. “This is our way of paying it forward.’’

After the photography exhibit ends, Espaillat will be curate for “Caribbean Color and Magic,” featuring artists Ricardo-Arsenio Toribio, Victor Rafael Tavares and Edward Telleria — all from the Dominican Republic. The event will be Nov. 22 to Dec. 19. The opening reception is Nov. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Essex Art Center Executive Director Leslie Costello thought “it was a great idea” when Mori Espaillat talked to her about having the work of artists from the Dominican Republic on display. In the past, Costello said artists of Dominican descent living in Lawrence have had shows at the art center and have hosted works by artists from Colombia, England and Canada.

“The photographs are beautiful and, although most of them were taken in the Dominican Republic, they have universal themes that have been modified by pinhole cameras or computers,” Costello said.

Cabrera said a pinhole camera is a box on which a hole is made with a needle. The simple instrument does not have a lens, and light from a scene passes through the hole, thus projecting an inverted image on the other side of the box.

The composition of the photographs and the colors yellow, pink, red and green are not the only characteristics that make them stand out, Costello said.

“It’s more the way they have displayed it,’’ she said. “The artists painted a gray line on the white walls where they hung their photos on white mats in square and rectangular formats.’’

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