Closing Soon

Fabiola Jean-Louis: Rewriting History

October 19, 2023 - January 15, 2024
Fenway Gallery

Rewriting History features the work of Gardner Artist-in-Residence Fabiola Jean-Louis, a Haitian American artist working in photography, paper textile design, and sculpture. One of her high-styled period dresses—made of paper and resembling garments worn by European female nobility from the 1600s to 1800s—will be accompanied by lush photographs of women of color wearing the beautiful yet cage-like paper creations.

Through the creation of these garments and dressing women of color in them, Jean-Louis reclaims the power and place of Black women so often portrayed not in elegant dress but in attire of the impoverished or enslaved. Her dresses and photographs serve as a corrective to a depiction of history in which Black women are often presented as the victim or disenfranchised.

Fabiola Jean-Louis (Haitian, b. 1978), Marie Antoinette is Dead, 2017. Archival pigment print © Fabiola Jean-Louis.

About Fabiola

Photo of a person.

Fabiola Jean-Louis, Photo Courtesy of the Artist.


Fabiola Jean-Louis was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti on September 10th, 1978 and moved as a child to Brooklyn, NY, where she currently works. She studied at the School of Fashion Industries in New York and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh; she now works in a variety of media—including sculpture, photography, ceramic, and film. She has been awarded residencies at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York City, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Her work has been exhibited at DuSable Museum of African American History, and Andrew Freedman Home. In 2021, The Metropolitan Museum of Art commissioned a paper sculpture for a two year exhibition, Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room. It debuted on November 5th, 2021 - making her the first Haitian, female artist to show in the prestigious institution. That same year, the Yale Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, acquired Jean-Louis’s entire Rewriting History print collection - along with three paper sculptures.

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Fabiola Jean-Louis: Rewriting History


Contemporary art projects at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are supported in part by the Barbara Lee Program Fund.


The Artist-in-Residence program is directed by Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art. Funding is also provided for site-specific installations of new work on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade on Evans Way.


The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.