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Joiri Minaya’s Pattern Making

May 31, 2023

Visit our Awards page for this film’s honors and recognition.

In the multidisciplinary practice of artist Joiri Minaya, the histories, realities, and fantasies of the Dominican Republic and the wider Caribbean are explored, exposed, and subverted as Minaya seeks to control her own representation and visibility. “I’m interested in the idea of opacity,” says Minaya. “A right to remain opaque, even to yourself, even things that you may not understand about yourself, and being at peace with that and not having to explain yourself to others.” In her collages, photographs, performances, and installations, Minaya uses pattern, camouflage, and opacity as a “tool for liberation” from outside judgment. In her photo series and performances of Containers (2015-2020), the artist recreates poses—arms akimbo, lying in odalisque—she found repeated in Google image search results for “Dominican women.” Performers wear patterned, restrictive bodysuits made from spandex that encase the wearer from head to toe. 

Spandex also covers several monuments of colonizers in the series The Cloaking (2020), where Minaya created her own textiles featuring repeats of plants that played important roles to Native and Afro-diasporic peoples in the Americas. “I’m thinking of a way to re-signify the public space used to commemorate colonial history, and instead trying to commemorate the people who resisted colonialism,” Minaya explains. A dense visual layering of the Dominican Republic’s landscapes, her New York studio, and the artist’s vibrant works, this short documentary film follows Minaya as she challenges the ways that the cultures of the Caribbean have been represented and makes space for the stories that remain untold. 

More information and credits


New York Close Up Series Producer: Nick Ravich. Director & Producer: Alina Rancier. Additional Editor: Lorena Alvarado. Producer: Lei Gonzalez. Line Producer: Banerys Gonzalez. Cinematography: Sofia Marcos, Isabel Padilla. Assistant Camera: Nico Fazio, Manuela Hidalgo. Location Sound: Michael Lovett, Rachel Villegas. Production Services: Amala Studio. Associate Producer: Andrea Chung. Assistant Curator: Jurrell Lewis. Production Assistant: Ana Valeria Castillos. Color Correction: Marina Frigerio. Sound Mix: Andrew Fox. Music: Michael Lovett. Design and Graphics: Chips. Artwork & Archival Media Courtesy: Joiri Minaya. Thanks: Khalil Fersobe, ISCP, Jose Lopez, Ramon Lopez y Francisca, Addison Post, Arelys Rancier, Wave Hill. © Art21, Inc. 2023. All rights reserved.

New York Close Up is made possible with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Joiri Minaya

Joiri Minaya was born in 1990 in New York City, where she currently lives and works. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, earning Associate’s Degrees from La Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales in Santo Domingo in 2009 and Altos de Chavón School of Design in 2011 before returning to NYC for her BFA from Parsons New School for Design in 2013. Through photography, video, installation, and performance, Minaya interrogates tropical motifs found in popular culture and reveals how such motifs have been used to exotify Caribbean women. Referencing and subverting floral patterns, botanical illustrations, and stereotypes of the Caribbean, her colorful and playful configurations uncover colonial legacies persistent in Western culture.

I’m interested in the idea of opacity, a right to remain opaque, even to yourself, even things that you may not understand about yourself, and being at peace with that and not having to explain yourself to others.”

Joiri Minaya