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Joiri Minaya

Joiri Minaya

Dominican-United Statesian, born 1990

Joiri Minaya (she/her/hers) is a New York-based multi-disciplinary artist whose work investigates how the female body relates to the construction of identity, multicultural social spaces, and hierarchies. She is a 2021–22 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow; a 2020 recipient of the New York Artadia Award; and has participated in residencies at the International Studio & Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY (2021); Art Omi, Ghent, NY (2019); and the Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY (2018–19). Minaya’s work has been exhibited across the US, the Dominican Republic, and the Caribbean.

See more of Minaya's work at her website: joiriminaya.com.

I'm strongly thinking of people who look like me or have experiences like mine, of being an immigrant or being a Black woman or Latina woman—but then at the same time, I'm aware that I'm using [these] codes that have been put together by imperial and colonial systems, so they're very accessible by all sorts of demographics because it's the product of our history.

Joiri Minaya

Joiri Minaya (Dominican-American, born 1990). #dominicanwomengooglesearch, 2016. Digital prints on Sintra with tropical-print fabric backing, suspended from ceiling. Installation at William Paterson University, New Jersey, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

#dominicanwomengooglesearch, 2016

Digital prints on Sintra with fabric backing
Courtesy of the artist

“What I want people to take away from this work is the idea that identity is not fixed, that it’s not stereotypical and is always changing and recombining. I was also thinking about my own body. As I move around space, as I move in between places, the perception [of my body] shifts, and my own experience shifts in space.”
—Joiri Minaya

As indicated by its title, Joiri Minaya (she/her/hers) made this work by using Google to search for images of Dominican women on the internet. The top results were of young, attractive women, many with dark skin, scantily clad and posing suggestively for the camera. These results reflect stereotypes about “exotic” women from this Caribbean island, and the sexualization of Black and Latinx women more broadly.

Minaya compiled these images—some of which bear watermarks from the websites that posted them—and digitally cut them into pieces, isolating their body parts in a way that recalls the act of fetishization. She printed these parts on PVC boards at human scale, cutting them out along the edges of their enlarged pixels. They are backed with “tropical print” fabrics (like the kinds used in “Hawaiian” shirts), underscoring how the identity of Dominican women today remains tied to the legacies of colonization and tourism. As they hang from the ceiling like a children’s mobile, the cutouts slowly shift their position, creating a disorienting maze. Moving through and around the work reveals that our identities are never really as stable as stereotypes (or databases) make them seem, and that the algorithms that now shape how we see ourselves and each other only produce fragmentary pictures of reality, enacting a kind of algorithmic oppression.

The Albright-Knox thanks Megan Woloszyn and Xanthe John for contributing materials for the fabrication of this work.

#dominicanwomengooglesearch

at Wave Hill Sunroom Project Space

"In her work, Joiri Minaya challenges romanticized notions of the tropics, especially the sexist connotations in popular media that associate lush nature with the female form..."

Read the full description here.

When I started cutting them up into pieces in Photoshop I was mimicking the dissection that my gaze was doing. I would look at their faces, their boobs, their arms, their hair. I was sectioning them or cutting them up into pieces with my eyes based on how these images are presented to me, and how I’ve been conditioned to read those images in that way.

Joiri Minaya to Groana Melendez

Joiri Minaya Speaks with Baxter Street Camera Club of New York

Interview by Groana Melendez and Martha Naranjo Sandoval

Read the full interview with Minaya here.

Minaya’s work considers the Western construction of tropicality and the West’s caricatured expectations of “tropical” people — Filipinos, Hawaiians, Guamanians, Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Cubans, Dominicans — people with rich and wildly different histories who are nonetheless flattened and clustered under the same umbrella of othered identity.

Lauren Lluveras, "Joiri Minaya’s Tropical-Inflected Critiques of Colonialism"

Joiri Minaya’s Tropical-Inflected Critiques of Colonialism

Lauren Lluveras

"Joiri Minaya's installation, Labadee, makes you feel like you’re entering a wormhole wrapped in the type of patterned spandex that you might see while on vacation; brightly-colored patterns made up of flowers and lush fronds that are as commonly worn on bathing suits as they are seen decking hotel walls..."

Read the full review here

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