In these two works, Joiri Minaya proposes the wrapping of statues of Christopher Columbus in tropical-patterned fabrics. The textiles evoke the visual stereotypes of the Caribbean islands where Columbus landed in 1492. Through the works, Minaya empowers pattern, which is often relegated to the decorative realm, by using it to intervene in and critique the idea of monumental landscape. The pattern used to shroud New York City’s Columbus statue is a composite of foliage from Castor Bean, Yaupon Holly and Rompe Saraguey plants, each of which was used by enslaved Africans, Indigenous people of the Americas and the Yourba people in healing and rituals.
Minaya calls these works photo-collages or photomontages, because they give an illusion of something that did not happen in reality. In both instances, they exist as sketches or preparatory works for what Minaya hopes will be future projects. Yet, the wrapping of the figure is a cornerstone of the artist’s practice. In 2019, she successfully wrapped the statues of Ponce de Leon and Christopher Columbus in Miami, Florida. In other work, she camouflages her body and the bodies of others in spandex suits that blend into botanical backdrops, such as the gardens of Wave Hill, The Bronx, New York.
Minaya’s proposals are typically printed on postcards made available alongside her photographs. In lieu of this, please join the conversation by contributing your response to Minaya’s proposals using the comment function.
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