On View 

March 17 —
April 28, 2023

Alive in their garden is a group exhibition featuring works by four artists of the Black Latinx diaspora, engaging plant materiality and aesthetics as portals of gender subversion, ecological justice, ancestral knowing, and healing. Through still and moving images, sculpture, installation, and printmaking, the show explores the animate crossings of medium and material.

Drawing its name from a memoir by Dedé Mirabal, Alive in their garden, invokes the legacy of María Teresa, Patria, and Minerva Mirabal, three sister-activists who lost their lives in the struggle against dictatorial rule in the Dominican Republic—known as Las Mariposas. In 1960, the devastating loss of the Mirabal sisters brought global attention to gender-based state violence and injustice. Over the ensuing years, surviving sister, Dedé, dedicated her life to telling the story of Las Mariposas and preserving their family home as a museum. The exhibition amplifies this legacy as part of the Afro-Latinx lab’s ongoing commitment to break the silencing of gender violence in the Caribbean and its diaspora.

“I stayed alive to tell their stories”

—Dedé Mirabal

Alive in their garden is presented in collaboration with the RCAH LookOut Gallery at Michigan State University where it will be on view during spring 2023 and virtually produced with AbleEyes technology.

Curated by
Mary Pena

The Afro-Latinx Team
Melanie Rodríguez-Vázquez, Jennifer Mojica Santana,
Aurelis Troncoso, & Ayleen Correa 

The LookOut Team
Dylan Miner, Steven Baibak, Kristin Phillips, & Morris Arvoy  

Diaspora Solidarities Lab, Director
Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez

Lab Managers
Stephany Bravo & Tatiana Esh

Alive in their garden is a project of the Afro-Latinx Lab under the Open Boat Lab research grouping presented by the Diaspora Solidarities Lab, a multi-institutional Black feminist partnership directed by Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez and Jessica Marie Johnson with financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Michigan State University, and Johns Hopkins University.

About The Afro-Latinx Lab

As an evolving collaborative space, the Afro-Latinx Lab supports curation, storytelling, and popular education across the Black Latinx diasporic experience. The lab will create digital archives, museum and gallery exhibits, and community workshops and open seminars. The lab builds ethical digital archives informed by community centers, public art and organizing practices, and offers online and in-person workshops that help to transform how we approach knowledge production, storytelling, documentation, and archives.

More on the Femicide Archive Project launch coming soon.


1. Joiri Minaya

2. Felli Maynard

3. Star Feliz

4. Nitzayra Leonor