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Spotlight: Con artistas. The work of Joiri Minaya

Joiri Minaya. Encubrimiento, 2021.

The work Encubrimientos, 2021 is part of a series of interventions that the artist Joiri Minaya has been carrying out on colonial monuments in various locations, such as the Bahamas, Miami and her current participation in the 28th Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest in Dominican Republic. For her most rest "cloaking" the artist covers with fabric the sculpture of Christopher Columbus and Anacaona in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In Minaya’s intervention, the sculpture is wrapped in patterned fabric designed with images of medicinal, ritual and poisonous plants that were used by the Taínos, original inhabitants of the island, and by the enslaved Africans in their struggle against the colonizer. Bija, guao, tobacco, guayacán, yucca, chili pepper and ceiba are some of the plants that the artist uses as symbols of these processes of resistance and that continues to be part of Dominican daily life. The design evokes stereotypical tropical patterns that are generally used in clothing and decorations, replacing them with plants from the region that were tools in the fight against the colonial regime.

According to the curator of Encubrimientos, Yina Jiménez Suriel, Minaya's action "is a reflection of the debates and conversations that the contemporary Dominican community is wanting to have, as in many other parts of the world, about the symbols that constitute our imagination and the ideas that they transmit ", pointing to the relevance of these conversations within contemporary art.

Encubrimientos invites reflection about the figures and events that are monumentalized by many societies and seeks to question which ones are not considered. The artists interrogates why is a sculpture that denigrates the Cacique Anacaona at the feet of the figure of Christopher Columbus even exist in one of the main plazas of Dominican Republic. The sculpture presents the figure of Anacaona under the feet of Columbus and a plaque with text praising the colonizer.

The Cloaking of the statues of Ponce de Leon at the Torch of Friendship and Christopher Columbus behind the Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, Florida, 2019

Joiri Minaya (b. 1990) is a U.S. born and Dominican-raised multidisciplinary artist living and working in New York City. Her practice confronts historic and contemporary representations of black and brown womanhood, tropical identity, and the Gaze in order to decolonize and subvert imposed histories, and hierarchical representations of culture. Minaya has exhibited across the United States and internationally, including the Caribbean.

Joiri Minaya’s work The Cloaking is also on view in the exhibition MARKING MONUMENTS on view until March 6, 2021at University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum Lee and Victor Leavengood Gallery + Online.

Visit the artist's website HERE

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