An art exhibit opening in Westborough on Sunday is part of a unique cultural exchange.
As "Art Without Rules" opens at the Tatnuck Bookseller, Westborough resident Ian Tink is working on bringing "Dominicanos," his photo exhibit, to the Dominican Republic.
The Westboro Gallery is displaying "Dominicanos" from July 22 to Oct. 21. "Art Without Rules," sponsored by the Autonomous University in Santo Domingo, runs at Tatnuck from Sept. 23 to Oct. 22, with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
"What we're doing, essentially, is trading shows," Tink says.
"For all of us, it will be the first time."
Tink says he has done "a tremendous amount of photography in the Dominican Republic."
Early this year, he was invited to be guest artist at "Art Without Rules" in Santo Domingo, he says.
Concurrently, he was assembling "Dominicanos."
Ultimately, it was decided that "it would be great, where there's such a huge Dominican population in Massachusetts, to have their show come to Massachusetts.And in the meantime, they were preparing for my show, 'Dominicanos,' to come to Santo Domingo," Tink says.
And while "Art Without Rules" starts at Tatnuck, "we want to take it to Lowell, Lawrence, Boston," he says. Schedules are being worked out both for "Art Without Rules" and the Dominican Republic showing of "Dominicanos," he says.
Most of the "Art Without Rules" artists are visiting Boston for the first time, Tink says. They will be here about a week.
"Dominicanos" features several hundred photos of Dominican life in the Dominican Republic and the Boston area, including photos from the "Art Without Rules" opening in Santo Domingo, says Tink, who had two pieces in that exhibit.
"'Art Without Rules' is much more of a socio-economic message in terms of inequities," Tink says.
"The Dominican Republic is much more bifurcated in tersm of the economy. You have the rich and you have the poor, and you have a very little middle class."
"Dominicanos" features a wide range of Tink's photos of the Dominican, including some from carnivals from Santiago and La Vega.
"La Vega is the most spectacular carnival in the Dominican Republic," he explains.
Tink says that "as I was putting the show together, I was thinking to myself, in Massachusetts and in the United States, people tend to have a very narrow view of Dominicans, and often a fairly negative view."
"I've learned, given all of my travels through the Dominican Republic that they are very friendly, people can solve problems very effectively. Things that Americans discard, they figure out ways to fix," he says.
"There's an ingenuity there. They're very hard working people."
Both "Dominicanos" and "Art Without Rules" are offering specially painted shoeshine boxes for a $500 donation, Tink says.
The proceeds will support an effort to provide education and training to shoeshine boys, who work on the streets of the Dominican Republic without this assistance, he says.
"The boxes themselves probably were made by the shoeshine boys. But, the artists that are involved in the show are the ones that have added the art to the boxes," Tink says.