Raquel Villar-Pérez: Tell me more about yourself and how you became an artist?
Joiri Minaya: I liked doing art when I was little, so my mom put me in the afterschool classes for painting. When I was 14, I enrolled in the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo; it is a program called preparatoria. It was a twice a week after-school class mostly for drawing. Then sometime after, you have to undertake a test to go into the proper curriculum of the National School of Visual Arts. I failed the test the first time, so I had to do everything again, and I feel this was the decisive moment when I knew I wanted to pursue a career as an artist. I attempted a second time and I got in. I remember those times to be intense because I was a sophomore in high school, so I had classes Monday to Friday, like any other high school student, and the program at the National School of Visual Arts was also Monday to Friday, for around five hours in the afternoon each day. I spent the last three years of my high school doing two schools, basically.
RVP: I have noticed that the presence of women’s bodies permeates your multidisciplinary practice. I am curious to know more about the representation of the female form in your work, and how you got interested in representing or making it so prominent in your practices.
JM: The first thing that comes to mind is just the experience of being a woman in the world; it makes you realize there isn’t a lot of representation or a fair representation anyway. In fact, the woman’s body is usually objectified or understood as a decorative object. A big part of including it in my work has to do with taking agency of my own representation.
Something that I also wanted to draw attention on was the convention of portraiture. When I started studying art, there was a lot of portraiture, and representations of the human figure. It is a permanent subject within image making. The art of portraying women had to do with my experience as a woman in the world and especially my experience as a migrant in the US, and the experience of hyper visibility that immigrants deal with. I feel like since my beginnings in the arts, I have always gravitated to this analysis of the representation of women’s bodies as well as landscape.