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Being La DominicanaRace and Identity in the Visual Culture of Santo Domingo$
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Rachel Afi Quinn

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043819

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043819.001.0001

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Whiteness, Transformative Bodies, and the Queer Dominicanidad of Rita Indiana

Whiteness, Transformative Bodies, and the Queer Dominicanidad of Rita Indiana

(p.88) 3 Whiteness, Transformative Bodies, and the Queer Dominicanidad of Rita Indiana
Being La Dominicana

Rachel Afi Quinn

University of Illinois Press

Writer, artist, and musician Rita Indiana Hernández presents as gender ambiguous and masculine in her work in ways that challenge Dominican cultural norms. This chapter considers how she capitalizes on these ambiguities in her significant visual responses to this transnational moment. Her samplings of cultural referents function, as she herself has noted, is like a Surrealist’s collection of found objects. This chapter critiques the artist’s appropriation of Haitian and African American cultural referents, naming her performance in the music video “Da pa’ lo do’” as blackface, and identifying elsewhere her use of Blaxploitation aesthetics in an exploration of how Dominican whiteness works. Rita Indiana’s proximity to whiteness, this chapter argues, makes it possible for her to present queerness, Blackness, and female masculinity to a wide audience and be cast as innovative and consumable.

Keywords:   Rita Indiana Hernández, Whiteness, Blackface, Transformista, Queer, Surrealist, Pastiche, Haitian, Appropriation, Blaxploitation

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