I integrated my academic disciplines of Fine Arts and Anthropology to create a visual documentation using black and white photography, both digital and analog media. I explored Dominican Diaspora in New York City by investigating the Dominican people who have migrated to NYC and how they have “assimilated” into American culture, or how they have created a new means of adapting to both cultures, creating a new hybrid identity.
I am a first generation Dominican American woman and I have been exposed to both cultures at different times in my life. It wasn’t until I attended a predominantly white school that I realized that my identities of being both, Dominican and American, could alter results based on the situation or place I am in. This observation led to my larger question about the transition and adaptation of Dominicans in New York City.
I interviewed family members and friends of Dominican descent, whether they were Dominican born or first generation Dominican American, about their experiences living in New York City. After interviewing and photographing them I learned about the changes they have made in their lives in order to adapt into a new culture. Through their adaptation new identities and cultures have arisen. These identities incorporate their new culture and national identity while simultaneously keeping Dominican traditions.
Through the exploration of these individuals, and myself, I discovered that Assimilation is not the correct term to describe our experiences as Dominican people. Initially, I sought out to box in our identity into an easily identifiable one. However, our stories and identities are much more complex and diverse than I had originally assumed.
The exploration of my community and myself is unfinished.