Karla Hiraldo Voleau
Hola Mi Amol
SPBH Editions, and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
London, and Renens, Switzerland, 2019
In Hola Mi Amol, French Dominican artist Karla Hiraldo Voleau pairs delicate text snippets with sensual, tender portraits of the men she met during a solo journey through the Dominican Republic. Thinking of her mixed-heritage upbringing, she writes, “The constant warnings: ‘Never date a Dominican’ only made me curious.” This curiosity becomes the engine for Voleau’s ambiguously intimate photographs, which portray an eclectic cast of men, mostly captured in the nude. Lush in its simplicity, the work chronicles a visit to a witch, hazy evenings at the beach, and a hypnagogic love affair through a mixture of cell-phone selfies and captivating color portraits. Offering a subversive gaze on the men who formed the myths of her childhood, Hola Mi Amol is, at turns, deeply romantic and poignantly restless. Says Sawyer, “It’s provocative, sexy, and witty, but also subverts the readers expectations and even challenges Voleau’s own upbringing,” uncovering a new and organic lens through which to understand her cultural and sexual identity.