Olivia Peguero is a contemporary artist who was born in the Dominican Republic, and grew up in the small towns of Miches and Las Salinas.
She came into national prominence during the last decade when she was commissioned to paint a visualization of the poem “The Emerald Hills of Quisqueya”.
Common themes present in Olivia Peguero’s art are Dominican landscapes and her very vocal pride in Dominican heritage. In 2005, she made news when a private collector requested a commission and was turned down for asking her to paint a beach in the DR but label the art as it was from another Caribbean country. In 2007, Peguero dedicated proceeds from her works and with the help of a few important collectors, started the Peguero Arte Libros Foundation and the Art Books for Education Program.
The Emerald Hills of Quisqueya
I walk with my mother and father.
Down the dirt road to pick cocoa and play in the river.
We are together,
I am young,
This is our family
This is my Quisqueya.
The Capital fills my head with noise,
everything new and always moving.
The cars pass by as do my years, far too fast for time or dreams.
This is my Dominican life,
This is my Quisqueya.
I dream of the hills and palm lined shores
as my wrinkles become deep and hands worn hard.
My Quisqueya, you are sweet as cane in the field
and stronger than the oldest Caoba.
You are my childhood, you are my present, and you are my future.
I would give all to walk down that dirt road again.
To hold my father’s hand and to feel the happiness of a childhood.
To see the cocoa, ripe on the tree, as yellow as the morning sun.
To only once more, walk the fields and be surrounded
by the emerald hills of Quisqueya.
Olivia Peguero attended the Mahatma Gandhi secondary school in Santo Domingo and after graduation, moved to New York to join her parents who had immigrated a few years prior.
Although she was mostly isolated from the arts as a child, she was strongly influenced by the Dutch Masters style and it seemed only natural that the same style be applied in a lush, Caribbean environment. Today, many people associate Olivia Peguero art as only tropical or island oriented, but much of her work and training focused on mastering traditional methods with her early paintings often being completed in and around the villages, cottages and fells of the Borrowdale Lake District in England.
Training and education
Olivia Peguero attended university in New York and Florida and continued to refine her style during the course of her training. She completed a Bachelors Degree of Fine Art Studio Painting from Florida Atlantic University, Florida, a Bachelors Degree in Management Information Systems from Mercy College, New York and a Master Degree in Business Administration, MBA from Nova University, Florida.
Peguero Arte Libros Foundation
Mrs. Peguero is the founder of the Peguero Arte Libros Foundations and the Art Books for Education Project that focuses on art education for young Dominican children in rural areas. In 2007, the case was presented that even today, many Dominican children in rural areas are not exposed to and do not have the opportunity to learn fine arts such as painting, sculpture, poetry and story writing. And for a country so rich in the music and dance arts to not have an emphasis in these areas was a loss for every child.
One of the programs currently under implementation by the foundation is to supply rural schools with a set of Spanish language art books that cover painting, sculpture, poetry and story writing. These would then be given to the school for their library and as some schools don’t have a library, it would be the start of a long term collection to benefit all students.