Call For Submissions: ¿Y Tu Abuela, Donde Está?: Multi-dimensional Afro-Latina/o Identities In The 21st Century

The Migration of Afro-Latin@s. Via
The Migration of Afro-Latin@s. Via

“The Black and White Dialogue on race and culture in the United States has consistently ignored the existence of more than 150 million people of African ancestry in the other Americas. The total absence of Afro-Latinas/os from the Caribbean Mexico, Central America and South America in the consciousness of the national discourse in the United States, including in institutions that educate and inform the civil society of the nation, contributes to the absolute disregard of the presence and realities of African Diasporic communities within the U.S. national territory and aboard. This lack of recognition and omission of the history, contributions and lives of more than 150 million people of African ancestry, many of whom reside here in the United States renders their contributions and lives irrelevant.”   

–Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora, “Afro-Boricua: Nuyorican de Pura Cepa,” page 75

“Of the estimated 11 million enslaved Africans brought to the New World from the late 1400s to the 1860s, most were taken to Latin America and the Caribbean, with only some 645,000 landing in the United States. “So when you’re talking about blackness, you’re really talking about Latin America.”

Miriam Jimenez Roman


“¿Y Tu Abuela, Donde Está?: Multi-dimensional Afro-Latina/o Identities in the 21st Century” is an exhibition examining Afro-Latino identity and culture in a contemporary context. The title is appropriated from a popular phrase within the Spanish-speaking Latin American community that examines the racial and cultural heritage of people of African descent. Sometimes used as a biting remark towards Latinos who elect to identify racially and culturally as something other than “Black” or of African descent, the phrase alludes to the idea of individuals literally hiding their background by keeping their grandmother, presumably a dark-complexioned woman, in the back part of their homes where no one can see her. However, some Latinos have also appropriated the adage to proudly profess their African heritage. As North America’s population shifts and the rate of Latin Americans grows in the United States, there has been an increase in interest of the historical, cultural, cosmological and political narratives of Latina/os of African descent and those who racially identify as “Black.” But most importantly, there has also been a push by Afro-Latina/os for the acknowledgement of the existence of a population of millions of people of African descent living outside the U.S. in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The term “Afro-Latino” has also given rise to nuanced conversations about non-Spanish speaking Latin Americans from places such as Brasil and the Francophone Caribbean. CCCADI has been at the forefront of conversations about Afro-Latinos since its founding by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, an Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, for the past three decades. As an institution, CCCADI is committed to delving deeper into this complex conversation to examine where Afro-Latina/os are today as individuals and as a community, particularly as younger generations boldly proclaim their Latino AND African identities.



In Submission Line please write – “Submission: Y Tu Abuela – First and Last Name” 

In order for your submission to be considered complete, please forward ALL of the items below:

1. Please submit 5-10 low-res jpeg images with descriptions completed on Inventory List (title, medium, dimensions, date(s) of completion). Images should be submitted via a flickr link or CD.

2. CV or Resume

3. Artist Statement – as it relates specifically to the exhibition’s topic.

4. Brief bio

5. For videos, email link or file. (Must be Quicktime compatible).

6. Submission Application (Scroll to the bottom of the page, then cut and paste form.–Ed.)

7. Inventory List

INCOMPLETE SUBMISSIONS will not be considered.

NOTE: Please upload low-res images/media via flickr and/or vimeo and send a link. Please be prepared to submit hi-res images upon request. Subject Line: “Submission: Y Tu Abuela – First and Last Name”

Forward submissions and questions to:

Shantrelle P. Lewis at


March 5, 2013


May 2013


ImageNation/Raw Space | 2031 Adam Clayton Powell | New York, NY 10027


The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), commonly known as the Caribbean Cultural Center, was conceived in 1976 by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega who had a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African descendants wherever our communities are present.  Dedicated to making visible the invisible history, culture and welfare of peoples in African descent, the Center is based in New York City but effectively works for the social, cultural and economic equity of African Diaspora communities around the world.

About the Curator:

Shantrelle P. Lewis is Brooklyn-based curator and a native of New Orleans who returned home in September 2007 to assist in its revitalization efforts after a 12-year stint on the east coast. For two years, she worked in the capacity of Executive Director and Curator of the McKenna Museum of African American Art. In October 2009, Ms. Lewis relocated to New York, and joined the staff of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), where she was Director of Exhibitions and Programs for three years.   Having received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in African American Studies from Howard and Temple Universities respectively, her curatorial work is grounded in a Black Studies theoretical-activist framework. Her extensive travels internationally have allowed Shantrelle to experience and witness the manifestation of the African Diasporan aesthetic firsthand. As a curator, Ms. Lewis uses exhibitions to respond critically to socio-political and cosmological phenomenon through an African-centered lens. In Fall 2011, Shantrelle was a curatorial resident at Open Ateliers Zuidoost in Amsterdam, NL. The recipient of a 2012-13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellowship, Ms. Lewis is currently engaged in research about the Dutch Caribbean Diaspora for a 2015 Exhibition at CCCADI’s soon-to-be renovated historic firehouse on 125th Street. Ms. Lewis has demonstrated a commitment to researching, documenting and preserving African Diasporan culture.

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  • Andrea

    What grammatical errors does it have besides the accent on “donde?” They are asking where is your grandmother (as in her location in the house), right? Not, where is your grandmother from.

  • ladyfresh

    I’m familiar with Shantrelles work, she’s an excellent curator. This should be interesting.