José Lévy: A Jewish Social Artist in the Caribbean

In “José Lévy: A Jewish Social Artist in the Caribbean,” Virgilio O Aran reviews the work of Dominican artist José Lévy in the context of Caribbean history for Esendom (where you can access the full article with notes, more artwork, and links).

[. . .] The Caribbean has a great social, political, cultural, and economic complexity where people try to survive and build a better place every day. José Lévy, a Dominican artist of Jewish Sephardic descent, has been exposing the complexity of Dominican society through his art. 

[. . .] José Lévy is a Dominican artist of Jewish Sephardic descent who has been exposing the complexity of Dominican society through his art. His work has been exhibited in venues throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. Mr. Lévy’s art tells the story of the Caribbean and its people, which is often overlooked by mainstream media. He seeks to create a more inclusive society by giving a voice to those who are marginalized. I came to know José Lévy during our teenage years while attending Montessori High School in the Dominican Republic. We befriended, and we shared similar tastes for music and social and political issues.  From a young age, Lévy demonstrated a natural skill to convey his social view of the Dominican Republic via his paintings. 

After graduating high school, Lévy dedicated his talents to studying Dominican culture in depth and connecting it to part of his Sephardi Jewish history. According to Lévy, “it could be easy for me to explore the different forms of arts, especially those we receive from Europe or the United States. However, my experience as a Dominican Sephardic Jew and the sense of cultural loss due to the erasure of the Sephardi history reminds us that we need to create arts that reflect our culture for the future generation.” [. . .]

In other words, for Lévy, art becomes a tool for depicting the lives of others but also an instrument to preserve culture in general. For many Sephardic families, the word preservation or conservation is critical due to the loss that Jewish Sephardic families came to experience since the Decree of Expulsion that was issued in 1492.

Sephardic culture, including the language spoken by many Jews who lived in [. . .] what today is modern Spain, Portugal, and part of northern Africa, almost came to extinction. Thus, Lévy highlights that part of his goal is to preserve his Jewish and Dominican heritage and sharing with the world. As José Lévy, the Sephardic Jewish diaspora continues contributing to the societies in which they live and our Jewry culture. [. . .]

Fr full article, see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s