The primary focus of my work is the exploration of identity through the medium of portraits. I explore Dominican and American identity as seen through my own experience. At the age of 10, I nostalgically began the process of “collecting” images and documents of my family as a need to piece together our story. This became my way of learning more about my roots. It gave me an insight into their past, and in turn, and insight into my own personal identity.
Born in Brooklyn, Groana Melendez (1984) was raised between New York City and Santo Domingo. Her parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1970's from their hometown in the Dominican Republic, in search of better opportunity, and to pursue the "American Dream." Through her photographs, Groana attempts to create a connection with her family. A connection that became fragile due to long periods of absence. She executes this by shooting portraits of her relatives and capturing the spaces they inhabit. In the process, she explores issues pertaining to familial relationships, class, and a finds a more profound understanding of her heritage and roots.
Groana graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Photography from Syracuse University. She has exhibited internationally with her first solo show held at New York's Public Library and has been published in Nueva Luz and Latina Magazine. She is currently based in New York City where she is continuing her series.
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