dima
  • 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures

    Growing up in Miami, Florida, I always felt like I did not belong. As a second-generation American, born in America with Cuban parents, I felt like I had two identities. In Miami, Cuba was present in my every day; at home, at school, and at play. When I moved away, I realized just how Cuban I was. As I grew older, I longed for a stronger connection to my Cuban heritage.

    For my MFA creative project, I looked inward to understand what it means to have two identities, how my identities were formed, and why it is so important to me. I employed auto-ethnography and ethnographic methods to explore identity, hybridity, memories, and place. I conducted interviews with Cuban-Americans who talked about their experiences and how they perceive their identity. These interviews were very helpful in validating my feelings and brought into focus my upbringing and place.

    I designed an autobiographical book describing my experiences growing up in Miami and how these experiences and the environment made me who I am, both Cuban and American. The structure of the book is, in essence, a book within a book, where the main focus is my personal narrative, with excerpts of stories revealed during the interviews.

    As designer-author and through visual storytelling, I hope to gain understanding, acceptance, and cultural empathy, and to start a dialogue about identity and what it means to be American.

    2017 7th Annual International Juried Exhibit, Art of the Book, Rochester Public Library, Rochester, New York
    2016 Biennial Faculty Exhibition, Gallery 2, University of West Georgia
    2014 Personal Histories International Artist Book Exhibition, Redland Museum, Queensland, Australia
    2014 Purchase Award, ARTBOUND 2014 Juried Student Book Arts Exhibition, George A. Smathers Libraries, Department of Special Collections, Book Arts Collection, University of Florida
    2013 SA+AH MFA Candidates Thesis Exhibition II, University Gallery, University of Florida