The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is pleased to announce our Virtual Artist in Residence.  This virtual opportunity gives up and coming artists the opportunity to share their work outside their usual environments, providing them added exposure.  MLL will spotlight artist’s artwork on our website and in the marketing for MLL’s Lecture Series. This residency is funded by the Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin Amercian Studies


Virtual Artist in Residence

2021-2022 | Joiri Minaya


Photo Credit: Joiri Minaya in the studio.  Photo by Joeal Gaal, courtesy of the Red Bull House of Art. 


Joiri Minaya (1990) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work navigates binaries in search of in-betweenness, investigating the female body within constructions of identity, multi-cultural social spaces and hierarchies. Recent works focus on questioning historic and contemporary representations of black and brown womanhood in relation to an imagined tropical identity from a decolonial stance.

Born in New York, U.S, she grew up in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (2009), the Altos de Chavón School of Design (2011) and Parsons the New School for Design (2013).

She has participated in residencies like Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Guttenberg Arts, Smack Mellon, BronxArtSpace, Bronx Museum AIM Program, the NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Transmedia Lab at MA Scène Nationale, Red Bull House of Art Detroit, Lower East Side Printshop, Art Omi, ISCP and Vermont Studio Center.

Minaya has exhibited internationally across the Caribbean and the U.S. She is a grantee from Jerome Hill, BRIC’s Colene Art Brown’s Award, NY Artadia, the Nancy Graves Foundation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (Emerging Artist Grant), the Joan Mitchell Foundation (Emerging Artist and Painters and Sculptors Grants), Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellowship, the Great prize and the Audience Award XXV Concurso de Arte Eduardo León Jimenes, the Exhibition Prize Centro de la Imagen (D.R.), and the Great Prize of the XXVII Biennial at the Museo de Arte Moderno (D.R). 


Statement of artist about the three pieces of art we chose:

The paintings La tía y la Santa & Papito belong to a series of paintings and patterns I made in 2011 called El Papaupa de la Matica. It was through these works that I first started to think critically about the role of women and their relation to domesticity, class and religion, and contextualized in a patriarchal society that has a history of colonization and regime. In the domestic environment I grew up in, gender roles were a binary, very defined and differentiated from one another. The female role was more often related to restrictions and to ideas of dependence and resignation. The family portraits and the patterns in the series double as an exploration of archetypes, exploring behaviors repeated throughout society.  

Based on toile and baroque wallpaper designs, associated with class privilege due to their European lineage, and widely found in colonized territories throughout the Americas, the patterns I was designing at the time acted as elements inside these paintings, or were applied to the background walls. The phrase “papaupa de la matica” comes from popular Dominican culture and it describes a patriarchal man who thinks of himself as an all-deserving leader or authority. The phrase also brings up associations with the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, who used the palm tree as the symbol of his party.



The piece Las locas (2009) is an installation of paintings exploring the Dominican Carnival as one of the few events that provides a relative safety for expressing and presenting visible queerness in public space in the Dominican Republic, and celebrating exuberant, gender-bending and non-normative codes, from the subjects being depicted to the formal qualities of the work (for example in this detail it is the back of the canvas that is painted as opposed to the front). Looking at this piece more than a decade later, it's worth mentioning that the public presentation of the LGBTQI+ community and its perception in the national imaginary has expanded from being "tolerated" under the ambiguity provided by disguises and the spirit of mockery and exaggeration of carnival, to being "out and proud" through the work of activists and events like Pride Parades, Draguéalo, and most recently Marsha Queer, a series of protests against the discriminatory changes made in the Penal Code in 2021, where sexual orientation and gender identity were excluded from being protected from discrimination.

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Past Artists in Residence

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  • 2020-2021 | Nancy Cepero

    Virtual Artist in Residence

    2020-2021 | Nancy Cepero

    Biography in English 

    Nancy Cepero is a Plastic artist born in Havana, Cuba in 1989. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro in 2008. Nancy defines herself as an Afro-queer artist and artivist. She is interested in denouncing and combating discrimination by "creating beauty inspired by dark skin, natural hair and styles that identify us as black and queer people, as well as finding and promoting that dialogue between our bodies, nature and our ancestors." Nancy is currently in Cusco, Peru from where she continues to produce her Afrocentric work.

    Biografía en Español

    Soy una artista plástica nacida en La Habana, Cuba en 1989. Graduada de la Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro en 2008. Me defino como una artista y artivista afro- querer. Me interesa denunciar y combatir las discriminaciones creando belleza inspirada en la piel oscura, el pelo natural y los estilos que nos identifican como gente negra y también queer, así como también encontrar y fomentar ese diálogo entre nuestrxs cuerpos, la naturaleza y nuestrxs ancestrxs. Actualmente me encuentro en Cusco, Perú desde donde sigo produciendo mi trabajo de manera afrocentrada. 


    World's Whisper 

    Her work World’s Whisper was chosen as the image for the 2020-2021 Black Lives Matter Across the Globe Lecture Series. 


    World’s Whisper - Description in English 

    Title of Work: World’s Whisper 
    Measurements: 1m x 1,10m
    Technique: Acrylic on canvas
    Year: 2019
    Artist's commentary on the work:
    This painting represents a black woman warrior, her look calls to the fight that is at the same time the messages that the universe, nature, wilderness, and the world are sending her through these hummingbirds messengers.  There are six birds, not by chance, but because six is the number of Changó, warrior deity symbol of fight in the Rule of Ocha Afro-Cuban religion.  At the same time the hummingbirds are a tribute to Seth, the character from Beloved by Tony Morrison.


    Susurro del mundo - Descripción en Español

    Título de la obra: Susurro del mundo
    Medidas: 1m x 1,10m
    Técnica: Acrílico sobre lienzo
    Año: 2019
    Comentario de la artista sobre la obra:
    Este cuadrto representa a una mujer negra guerrera, su mirada llama a la lucha que es a su vez el mensaje que le está mandando el universo, la naturaleza, el monte, el mundo a través de estos colibríes mensajeros.  Los pájaros no son seis por casualidad; seis es el número de Changó, deidad guerrera símbolo de lucha en la Regla de Ocha, religión afrocubana. A su vez los colibríes son un homenaje a Seth, personaje de Beloved de Tony Morrison.


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