ABOUT

My name is Lewis (LOUISE) Derogene and my moniker is PhenomenaLewis. 

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

I use photography, performance art, drawing, sculpture, installation art, video art and poetry to speak on the Black experience, mainly being a Black Haitian woman living in the United States and how that is influenced by spiritualism, sociology, politics, psychology and other factors that contribute to being human. 

One of my main inspirations is Dutch painter Rembrandt who used chiaroscuro in his painting–I find myself using this same technique in my artworks as well. I’m drawn to the strong shadows contrasted by extreme brightness to bring focus to a specific part of his paintings because it directs the eye of his viewer. That concept of directing the eye of your viewer is a concept that I’m using and still learning how to properly use in my creations.

Another inspiration of mine is Immanuel Kant and his philosophy on the sublime. I extracted this quote from an article written on WordPress, “Kant describes the sublime as a feeling that arises when we are aware of divine experiences – or what he calls a priori knowledge: universal validity, independent of experience.” With this ideology in mind, my self portraits embody this statement where without fully knowing what the image is about, there is a strong feeling of serenity that the viewer gets just from observing them. 

I label myself as Afro Cogitatio–afro being rooted from and being a descendant 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 ideology for creating what I create. I use Kant’s philosophy of sublime and aesthetic and Afro Cogitation to tie them together with small elements of Afro futurism.

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 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 I start with myself hence my self portrait series so that I can have a more personal take of better understanding of how to use the philosophy of sublime and aesthetic to tie it with the Black experience.

PhenomenaLewis _ Headshot
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Selected Group Shows

2021

Groop Sho in Brooklyn, NY curated by Raina Mehler

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

- 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