Being born into a specific body often compels a person to quietly accept roles. Throughout their life, Xiomara Malpica-Martinez has felt the pressure of fitting into the gender confines of Dominican culture. By its nature, Dominican culture eradicates what is considered abnormal, actively implementing its status quo.
Painting and photography allow Martinez to explore their identity beyond themselves; they are able to tangibly manifest their identity with a greater buffer from social and physical repercussion. Through their photographic portraits, they are creating a reality where they and the people around them are free to explore themselves.
Martinez is heavily influenced by Dominican culture, specifically Diablo Cujelo masks and religious iconography. The use of color, design, and the labor-intensive process of Diablo Cujelo masks inspire Martinez to create works that are intricate and time-consuming. The adaptation of religious iconography alludes to how religion is used to ostracize various communities.
Currently working on small 3″x 4″ to large 5’x5′ oil paintings on canvas, they are looking forward to creating sculptural works in the future.
Space to Connect Programming
Through Chashama’s Space to Connect program, Martinez works with young students to develop their creativity and provide an arts education tailored to the needs of the students. Working with Fordham Bedford Community Services, Martinez has taught at 3 different after-school program sites, offering watercolor and painting classes.
Malpica-Martinez will also be hosting pop-up art-making activities in collaboration with events at Fordham Plaza in The Bronx.