Ismael Ogando (born Ismael Gómez Ogando September 21, 1985) is a concept, media and performance artist who specializes in epistemology and aesthetics.1
Ismael Ogando was born September 21, 1985 in a catholic family, raised by both parents being academics in linguistics working in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, where he attended catholic school at De La Salle, and later at age 16 graduated from the Armed Forces Training Center at the Fernando Valerio infantry brigade, finishing afterwards his studies in Fine Arts at the (ICA) in 2005.
In 2006 Ogando joined the humanities faculty at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo at the school of clinical psychology. During this period is when Ogando start developing skills in media and journalism, working as producer for two major Dominican television networks between 2008 and 2010, and as columnist and art critic for several local press.
Life in exile
During the Dominican Republic presidential election of 2012, Ogando opposed and openly criticized Danilo Medina for using state funds in his political campaign. 2 The immediate consequence of this opposition forced Ogando to exile himself staying in Miami 3, then Mexico city 4 to later make a short stay in New York city before arriving in Berlin, Germany.
In Berlin, Ismael Ogando continues his critics against Danilo Medina’s regime. Advocating against the Dominican establishment’s nationalist narratives, Ogando developed and curated an archive platform 5 in the district of Neukölln from 2012 to 2015, which served as a hub for opening key art exhibitions in the city; among them WIR SIND ALLE BERLINER 6 and GIVING CONTOUR TO SHADOWS 7
Activismo and journalism
In 2006 Ismael Ogando started to advocate for the LGBT rights in the Dominican Republic, within the academic restriction concerning the topic in the country. Altogether his work in the mainstream media of the Dominican Republic, Ogando developed grounds for the heated debate concerning the Haitian-Dominican conflict, joining a series of research trips to the area before and after the 2010’s Port-au-Prince earthquake.
His journalist research about the Dominican-Haitian relation nourished his following artistic researches, evidencing the political agenda behind Leonel Fernandez Reyna and President Danilo Medina exploitation of ultra-nationalist narratives in the Dominican side, exposing their involvement with institutional corruption and the later instance of the Odebrecht scandal pushing Ogando to seek asylum in Germany.
Ismael Ogando has developed a wide career in the fields of art, social activism, gender studies and identity politics. Ogando’s performances and installations play upon dichotomies and paradoxes, for intance from his earlier projects highlighting the Dominican denial of blackness by underscoring the erroneous nature of this perception in his performance “Dominican Shower” in which Ogando ritualistically bathes himself. By staging these sort of performance in transnational spaces he brings attention to the national dynamic of denial in the Dominican Republic, but also engenders a place of (dis)identification that, while dependent upon national tropes, respondes to the realities of identity in the 21st century. Ogando’s work highlights the intersections between race and class, while including considerations of gender and sexuality. 8
In the same context the research "Altar" which was presented at the 2015 Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, for which Ogando teamed a Dominican classical music composer and a Haitian counter-tenor to arrange and record an opera aria in honour of Ezili Dantor, making with this production a unique binational collaboration which exposes the ambigüity of the national border and the inaccuracy in the historical account from the Dominican side, highlighting that way the narratives shadowing the Haitian Revolution and the global effects of this ignorance. 9
Segura, Oscar [Ismael Ogando: Republica Dominicana en la Bienal de Moscú]
Moses, Serubiris [Haitian Stories of Resistance; a Conversation with Ismael Ogando]]
Rauminhalt, Halle an der Saale | Kunststiftung Sachsen- Anhalt [Queer Aesthetics]
G. Perkins, Alexandra - University of Miami. [Queer Transnationality: Narrative, Theatre, and Performance Across Temporal, Spatial, and Social Geographies]
Revista Vozal [Dominican Shower, Ismael Ogando at Ex-Teresa Arte Actual]
Suarez de Jesus, Carlos. 2012-07-26. [Works You can’t Hang Over Your Couch]
Kaczor, Eva. [SAVVY Contemporary – New Space opening]
Kulturstiftung des Bundes [Giving Contours to Shadows Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekt - Gefördert im Fonds TURN]
Mustroph, Tom. TAZ, 2014-12-09 [Die Alten und die Neuen Kriege]
Hemsch, Peter. [Wikileaks 2007-04-02]