Cristina Bartley Dominguez is a Mexican-American artist based in New York. Originally a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Cristina moved to New York to pursue an education in film and photography, graduating this past May 2017 from Parsons The New School for Design with a B.F.A. in Photography. At a young age living in the Midwest she felt uneasy about her cultural difference among a suburban white community. This discomfort forced her to conform and reject her Mexican heritage. It wasn’t until she moved to Las Vegas, at the age of 13, that she felt comfortable to have a resurgence of her Mexican identity and slowly began to understand both halves of where she came from. During her time at Parsons she began exploring her mixed identity and the performances that manifested based on the different attempts to celebrate and mask one’s personal identity and the journey to come to terms with who you are based on the politics surrounding identity.
Stuck in Limbo
My self-portrait work explores the performance of identity. Society creates cultural stereotypes and paints false identities, forcing masks onto the body making it difficult to celebrate one’s personal identity. The masks we wear are the misguided names that we have been given, and the names that we begin to perform, due to social constructs of race and identity. Through my images, she is able to connect with a heritage she once felt forced to reject and is able to come to terms with her own perception of both the Mexican heritage and American life and how they blend together. My work shows both sides of the mask and begins to figure out the boundaries of a body and how a mask contorts to the body, attempting to break down this transparent wall created by the social system, setting the stage through a photographic performance to investigate the layering of my own identity by exploring her mixed race.
To view more of Cristina’s work please visit her website.