Music and Art In Your Backyard

MY NAME IS DUNESKA SUANNETTE...

...and I consider myself a creator of the intangible.

Photograph by Kino Galbraith

Photograph by Kino Galbraith

My art is defined by my life motto "I'll write peace on your wings and you'll fly all over the world". Growing up I was always surrounded by extremely strong, blunt, and determined Dominican women. My mother is both the strongest woman I have ever met, and naturally the most influential woman in my life. Her strong will led me to instinctually take a feminist approach in my art, especially since, because of her I was feminist even before I was even aware of what a feminist is. I still remember when I first learned how to ride a bike I jumped on one of my guy friends bikes at the time, which was blatantly too big for me, and he said "you can't ride that, you're a girl, you're too small, and will get hurt". I just looked at him and did it, because he felt that I couldn't. 

Being Dominican has also influenced my work, because of how different Dominican women can be from one another. No one can ever pin point what a Dominican woman can look like, just like no one can define what any woman can look like. Growing up I dealt with issues of identity, because I didn't fit in with the Latina girls in my classes, since I, apparently, wasn't Latina enough for them. I also didn't fit in with Black girls in my classes, since they knew I wasn't black. Then, even in high school, girls would define my race by my skin color, and tell me I was black, even though I explained that I was Latina. You can imagine how much that would affect my racial identity.

[This] has then influenced my art, because I seek to express the message that women should not be so quick to categorize one another as different, and office-file each other. We need to realize that although we are different from one another we also face very similar issues. I want my art to bring a group of women together and possibly see similar things in my work. And then, [it] will in turn start a conversation that will walk us on the path of amalgamation. I also want any man to be able to look at my work and better understand their opposite sex. 

The biggest challenge for me as a female artist of color was being afraid of being "the angry hispanic woman". I was afraid of being a feminist and sending that message loud and clear, because I didn't want to become a stereotype. My name, Duneska, is European, but growing up people would pronounce it in a "ghetto" manner, and then all of a sudden I had a "ghetto" name. Then I realized my name is not "ghetto", people made it ghetto, because I am a woman of color. That applies to the stereotype of being an angry woman of color. I am not angry, I am simply a feminist. Once again society labeled me, but this time as "angry" because I am a woman of color. Thats when you have to draw the line and essentially say F**K YOU. 

I feel that I am so new in the "art scene" and there is still something untouched in my future that I have this raging urge to fulfill. I can't explain what it is now, but I will definitely yell it out if I ever reach it. Within the near future though I will be finishing my series cultivation which is an exploration of ethnicities and physical characteristics amongst women. I am also going to be working on a photography series inspired by the characters in the Virgin Suicides, and their roles within their sisterhood, the awesome part is that the models will all be of color. It will be a little remix for the viewers. 

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