Joiri Minaya’s Pattern Making

By November 03, 2023

“Place is important to my work, coming from a place that is determined in other people’s imagination,” said Joiri Minaya, a multidisciplinary artist from the Dominican Republic. Minaya’s work engages with Camouflage, one of Burnaway’s 2023 themes. According to the artist, camouflage is a survival strategy, and a tool for liberation.


“Tropical” patterns, found and created by the artist, populate Minaya’s studio and practice. In Containers (2015-2020), Minaya photographs women in full coverage patterned bodysuits striking poses sourced from a Google search for “Dominican women.” In doing so, Minaya questions the agency of opacity and the power of blending into or standing out from nature. Growing up in Santo Domingo, a city with few public parks, Minaya counters a romanticized conception of nature with the reality that it can be both beautiful and treacherous.

Intervening in visual and political patterns, Minaya examines public statues and commemoration. In The Cloaking (2020), the artist creates her own fabric prints with illustrated plants that have been employed in systems of resistance by Indigenous and Afro-Diasporic peoples in the Americas. The patterned fabric is used to cover statues of colonizers in public squares. Through various forms of layering, Minaya is “trying to tell the stories that remain untold.”

This film is part of Burnaway’s partnership with Art21, an organization that produces award-winning documentary films about the world’s most groundbreaking contemporary artists. The collaboration intends to deepen an understanding of visual art that hails from the South today.

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