El Nombre Mío, Ajeno is an exhibition of photographs, videos and other lens-based works by Groana Melendez. In this work Groana creates an understanding of the interconnectedness of relationships, class and identity. The title originates from the poem, El Apellido/My Last Name, by Nicolás Guillén, a Cuban poet who worked towards creating a synthesis between ancestries and different cultures. The line loosely translates as “my foreign name” which denotes the history of colonization and the fractured identities that resulted.
Groana’s practice is a response to her parent’s emigration from the Dominican Republic and the pull between two different upbringings. What started off as a concern for representation and witnessing her relatives in a moment in time, transformed into describing the complicated layers within families. Originally these ties were nurtured through face-to-face contact, but now they also thrive in the digital realm. This led to the artist’s exploration of her own alienation and marks a turning point in her artistic practice.