Painting in Villa Altagracia
Casa de Campo, in La Romana is a luxury resort, a bubble compared to the rest of the Dominican Republic. In Casa de Campo, in Altos de Chavón, there is an art school. I did 50 portraits with its students and staff. They came from different regions of the island and talked with me while sitting to be portrayed. I asked them about their struggling to achieve their art and facing an uncertain future, bringing a social document of the region.
After a month in Casa de Campo I needed what cool travelers call “living something more authentic” in the Dominican Republic. And I rented a house in Villa Altagracia, in the interior, an hour from Santo Domingo, a contrast with Casa de Campo and the touristic beaches. Just before I arrived that poor town was devastated by the Noel storm with the flood of the river. Without running water from any pipe and only a few hours of electricity a day, I appreciated more the comforts we take for granted.
I was introduced to Sergio Vargas, the merengue singer, who lives in Villa Altagracia. At the time he was also a congressman. I portrayed and interviewed him in his house, up in the mountain.