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July 22, 2008

‘MUJER,’ GROUNDBREAKING PHOTO EXHIBIT ON DOMINICAN WOMEN, TO BE PRESENTED ON CCNY CAMPUS AUGUST 19 – SEPTEMBER 30

Show is First to Use New Public Space along Amsterdam Avenue

NEW YORK, July 22, 2008 -- “MUJER,” a groundbreaking photography exhibit by Nicole Sánchez honoring the lives and achievements of Dominican women from all walks of life, will be on display at The City College of New York (CCNY) August 19 through September 30. It will be installed on the campus’ newly refurbished Amsterdam Plaza, an open space between the North Academic Center building and Amsterdam Avenue.

“MUJER,” which means woman in Spanish, stems from a highly acclaimed, similar experiment launched a year ago in the Dominican Republic. The show profiles the lives, struggles and views of 125 Dominican women through poster-size photographs, biographical profiles, audio interviews and videos. It is the largest exhibit of its kind to showcase Dominican women.

The photos bring new visibility to Dominican women who in one way or another, sometimes silently and away from the limelight, have been trailblazers in their country. Over the past four decades, Dominican society has undergone enormous transformation, including the arrival of many women in influential places and posts traditionally occupied by Dominican men. 

The exhibit is presented by MercaSID, a food service company headquartered in the Dominican Republic, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) and City College Libraries. The original exhibit, which profiled 100 women from the Dominican Republic, has been augmented with profiles of 25 women living in New York City’s Dominican communities.

In addition, the exhibit will be the first to be displayed on the Amsterdam Plaza, which was landscaped and received new outdoor furniture as part of a program to upgrade the City College campus’ physical environment. The location will make the exhibit accessible to passersby and viewable from vehicular traffic.

 “Because of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and our location in Upper Manhattan, CCNY has forged strong bonds with the Dominican Republic and New York’s Dominican communities,” said CCNY President Gregory H. Williams. “We are proud to host this groundbreaking exhibition and make it accessible to the entire community by displaying it in the beautifully refurbished public space along Amsterdam Avenue.”

“We believe that in order to understand who Dominicans truly are, you have to examine the lives of those from the island as well as the enormous population that now lives abroad,” said José Miguel Bonetti Guerra, MercaSID’s president. “MercaSID is very proud of this project and is excited to share this photo exhibition with such a respected institution as City College, CUNY and the dedicated members of The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute.”

Project photographer Nicole Sánchez and producer/writer Giovanna Bonnelly visited New York City’s Dominican community in 2007 to select 25 women from New York’s Dominican population of more than 600,000. Sarah Aponte, CUNY DSI librarian, coordinated the local arrangements in collaboration with Anthony Achille, CCNY Assistant Director of Urban and Governmental Affairs and CCNY Chief Librarian Pamela Gillespie.

 “The connections between Dominicans abroad and Dominicans in the country of origin are being finally recognized more and more,” said Dr. Ramona Hernández, Director of the CUNY DSI. “We see this effort by a large island-based company like MercaSID as another indication of that recognition.

“In order to understand who Dominicans are, and what they are capable of, you definitely need to widen the scope and include both those in the island and the enormous population that now lives abroad, the largest one residing here in the United States.”

“We are very excited to participate in “MUJER,” showcasing Dominican women,” said Dean Gillespie. “The City College Libraries are a cornerstone of the Upper Manhattan community, and collaborating on this project, literally in our front yard on Amsterdam Avenue, is opening our Library doors to the community to show the achievements of the women of a great people.”

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

CUNY Dominican Studies Institute contact:

Sarah Aponte, 212-650-7496.

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