Container #2, 2016
Archival pigment print
60 x 40 inches.
Ruane Center for the Humanities, Lower Level
About the Work
Fueled by her own experiences growing up in the Dominican Republic, Joiri Minaya conducted a Google image search of “Dominican Women” in 2015. The search results consisted of Afro-Latina women, many wearing tropical print clothing, in repetitive, overly sexualized poses. The search results inspired Minaya to create “Containers,” a self-portrait series set in manmade natural environments, such as museum campuses, hotel grounds, and private beaches. In works like Container #2, Minaya wears a head-to-toe bodysuit designed to look like tropical flora, and poses like one of the women she came across in her search. The patterned bodysuit envelops every part of the artist’s body, camouflaging her person amidst the landscape. Echoing the tropical island shirts found in gift shopes and colorful floral caftans sold at resorts, the bodysuit’s pattern reference these botanical symbols of colonization and exploitation, while simultaneously “containing” and protecting Minaya. Given the colonial history of the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations, the photograph alludes to the many ways nature, femininity, and non-white cultures have been exoticized, tamed, and idealized throughout time.