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Container #4

Container #4

Joiri Minaya
Container #4, 2020
Archival pigment print
40 x 60 inches.

Not currently on view

About the Work

Minaya’s ongoing Containers, a series of performative photographs initiated in 2015 and on view in The Carriers, features the artist wearing bodysuits constructed from fabric of highly patterned prints of tropical plants. Wearing these head-to-toe bodysuits, Minaya situates herself in tropical settings amidst flora, shorelines, and rivers. The patterned bodysuits envelop every part of the artist’s body, blending into the landscape like camouflage. Like Hawaiian shirts often found in tourist gift shops and colorful floral caftans sold at beach resorts, the bodysuits and their patterns perform as an exploitative botanical archive of Western imperialism.

Historically constructed by colonial desires, ‘the tropical’ has become a meta-ready-made: decorative, interchangeable, and a vessel for disposable branding. Minaya’s work uses the tropical to critique colonialism and as a means to locate and reclaim agency. Her performance of camouflage evokes both the hyper-visibility and invisibility of women in the tropics, as imagined from a colonized gaze. She pushes the performative even further, posing in the photographs in ways that directly reference what’s pictured in the results of a Google image search of “Dominican women.”* The artworks beg the question, How accurate are these images assembled through databases and search engines? The images in the search, and therefore in Minaya’s work, mimic the exotic fantasies cultivated through the supposedly “neutral” A.I. lens. With her poses in Containers, Minaya’s repossesses representations of Dominican women in an exploration on how identity destabilizes and shifts historical and contemporary issues of representation.