ABOUT

My name is Lewis Derogene, first name pronounced as Louise and I’m known under the moniker, PhenomenaLewis. 

I am a Haitian-born multimedia artist based between Connecticut and New York. I’m also an alumni of the School of Visual Arts where I received my BFA in Fine Arts in 2019. 

My mediums range from photography, performance art, drawing, sculpture, and installation art, the latter of them stem from poetry I write. 

I’m greatly inspired by Rembrandt and his use of "chiaroscuro" or the extreme contrast of light and shadow. I use it in my practice to isolate and bring focus to my subject matter(s). I label myself as Afro Cogitatio–afro being the root and descendent of Africa and cogitatio being the latin word for any thoughts, meditations, or reflections. This terminology, Afro Cogitatio, is my guide towards better understanding my ideas, myself, the logic behind the two, and how they correlate and it reflects the individual, myself as an artist, and the collective (a group of people that I relate to or vice versa).

There’s a beauty and ugliness to learning more about your mental health as a Black person anywhere around the world. It involves breaking down systemic barriers that contribute to your mental health deteriorating and learning how to take the steps towards healing. 

A lot of those learning and unlearning steps revolve around the influences of spirituality, politics, sociology and other factors. I try to use these influences subtly in my artwork, but what I try to convey or capture in the single moment of bliss through my self portrait photographs that can appear so sublime even though underneath there is a layer of pain and suffering.

It’s a cover which a lot of us use and go through to not fully expose our suffering to the world, and make it seem that we are strong enough to carry on with our daily lives.

We tend to hide our pain and suffering with things that normally make us extremely happy, but it’s only a percentage of it while the rest: our depression, anxiety, or any negative thoughts does not allow these “things” to make us completely happy. They’re the barriers that we try to push and eliminate by ignoring them.

 

Overtime, I’ve struggled to know what my focus was within my art practice and realized that no matter how I word it, whether it’s the “state of being human,” to the “understanding of the self,” it all has to do with mental health or just the mind.

Being a Haitian (labeled Black in America) woman, I want to base my artwork on the experience of that mental health in the Black community, mainly all Black women and I mean all.

I want to inspire conversations to go deeper than the surface area of asking a Black person how they’re doing, how they’re feeling and actually start to uncover layers of trauma, of silence, of pain that they can’t uncover themselves to help them towards healing. To put on a facade of being okay dampens those layers causing them to meld over into one confusing story that when asked again, how they’re doing, will not be able to answer because they won’t know for sure.

 

Within my new discovered journey of identifying my art practice better, I find it better to start with myself hence my self portrait series, but I plan to and already started to implement others and their stories.

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Selected Group Shows

2021

- UPCOMING Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Art, Identity, and Freedom in Brooklyn, NY curated by We Roam Freely

ON GOING tHP:Beacon at Satellite Art Club in Brooklyn, NY curated by The Honey Pump

2020

Beyond Beauty: the ideal form at Mad Lab in Norwalk, CT curated by Lewis Derogene

Bathing In Blackness at SoMad Gallery in New York, NY curated by Kamra Sadia Hakim

LIC LIVE ART at Plaxal gallery parking lot, Land Island City, NY curated by Furusho von Puttkammer

2019

- Veiled art show in New York, NY curated by Sophy Chang, Anna Stallone, and Lewis Derogene

- Satellite Art Show at the Pfizer Building in New York, NY curated by Brian Whiteley

- GI Portal in Governor’s Island, NY curated by 4Heads

- Conception Art Show in New York, NY curated by the Conception Art Team

Open Studios in New York, NY curated by SVA's BFA Fine Arts Department

2018

Open Studios in New York, NY curated by SVA's BFA Fine Arts Department

Fridge Art Fair - New York, NY curated by Eric Ginsburg and Amanda Acosta 

2017

- Eclectic Zone - V-Spot Organic in New York, NY curated by Rey Naldo

- ARE - WE - MORE - The living Gallery Outpost in New York, NY curated by Lewis Derogene, Steven Drake, Haley Peacock and Vieno James

- We Dream In Color - Fantasy in Color (gallery) in New York, NY curated by Christy Ayala and Rob Ayala

- Planet X - The NYC Grind (gallery) in New York, NY curated by Santana and Safiel Vonay

- We Dream In Color - Fantasy in Color (gallery) in New York, NY curated by Christy Ayala and Rob Ayala

- Salutation Vineyard - The Powell State Building in New York, NY curated by Anthony Burton

- Genius Loves Company Remix - The Powell State Building in New York, NY curated by Gregory Mills

- Genius Loves Company - The Powell State Building in New York, NY curated by Gregory Mills

- Black History Month exhibition - SVA's Student Center, New York, NY curated by Cullen Rude and Maria Rovira-McCune

2014

- Street Seats - downtown Stamford, CT curated by Stamford Town Center

- Norwalk Community College High School Art Invitational - Academic Festival in Norwalk, CT curated by Norwalk Community College