Disrupting the Tropical Romance
Portrait of the Artist

Joiri Minaya takes tropical imagery and decorative pattern and appropriates it to confound romanticized ideas of the Caribbean and the female body. It’s a process that empowers an Afro-Latina perspective, subverting the exoticizing male gaze.

Joiri Minaya created an installation for the Sunroom Project Space’s Sun Porch in 2016. As the title suggests, #dominicanwomengooglesearch was composed of digital imagery that surfaced in an Internet browser search. The artist used fragments of these images―exoticized bodies―to create the floating forms, pairing each with a tropical print typically marketed to tourists. These amalgamations of imagery and patterns were then suspended from the ceiling, creating layers that blended with the view of foliage in the landscape beyond the gallery space. The installation was an absorbing challenge to mass-market, romantic expectations of the tropics and Caribbean women.

#dominicanwomengooglesearch, which was reviewed in ArtNet and Whitehot Magazine, was shown again at William Paterson University's Court Gallery, and elements were reconfigured for her exhibition at the Volta Art Fair in 2017.

Minaya-Meet the Artist event-July 2016.JPG

Joiri Minaya Meet the Artist event at Wave Hill, July 3-, 2016

Past Sunroom Work

#dominicanwomengooglesearch (2016)

Joiri Minaya, "#dominicanwomengooglesearch," 2016, digital prints and fabric on Sintra, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.
Joiri Minaya, "#dominicanwomengooglesearch," 2016. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.
Work for Call & Response


Joiri Minaya, "Containers" (from photo series), 2015, C-print, 40 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

For the 2017 anniversary exhibition Call & Response, Joiri Minaya returns to the grounds at Wave Hill a year after her Sunroom Project, #dominicanwomengooglesearch. With Containers, she extends her investigation of the body in a new performance piece. Staged in Wave Hill’s lush Monocot Garden, adjacent to the Aquatic Garden, Minaya utilizes the tropical setting to address ideas about gender and the re-appropriation of Caribbean imagery. Each of several anonymous performers is fully clothed in a fabric bodysuit―some suits boldly hypervisible and some printed with plant imagery that becomes almost a camouflage against the backdrop of transplanted, tropical specimens typical of this part of the gardens. Each suit is also embedded with audio that will transmit recorded narratives―personal stories of migration that at the same time reflect a larger story of transplantation. Set in the refined garden space of Wave Hill, Containers emerges as a poignant vehicle for undermining a romantic vision of the Caribbean at the same time that it gives voice to Afro-Latina perspective.

"The Sunroom Project provided a space to explore what interests me, a specific context and space for my work that could hardly be paired with a white-box gallery."

—Joiri Minaya

Minaya-studio Smack Mellon.JPG

Joiri Minaya in her studio space during her residency in Smack Mellon's 2017 Artist Studio Program.

Other work and performances by Joiri Minaya have been exhibited at such institutions as El Museo del Barrio and the New Museum, New York, NY. A 2017 resident in Smack Mellon’s Artist Studio Program and a participant in the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace Program, her other residencies include Guttenberg Arts’ Space’s Time Artist Residency, Guttenberg, NJ, New York Foundation for the Arts’ Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Brooklyn, NY; and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Minaya is the recipient of a 2016 Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Award and the Great Prize of the XXVII National Biennial of the Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo. 

Next Story
Domestic Patterns to Identity