Amanda Raquel Dorval is a Nuyorican-Dominican artist, graduate student, and seven-year Air Force veteran originally from Queens, NYC. She received her BA in art history from Barnard College and graduated in May 2022 with an MS in Library and Information Science from Long Island University Post with a concentration in Archives Management and Rare Book and Special Collections. As an Iraqi Arabic linguist in the Air Force, Mrs. Dorval developed a passion for Arabic language and culture, which drives much of her current academic research. Mrs. Dorval currently works as a Research Fellow at the Hispanic Society, a part-time Bibliographer of Indigenous American art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library, as well as a part-time Archives Intern at World Monuments Fund. Her academic research interests include Iraqi culture and history, contemporary Iraqi art and visual culture, cross-cultural influences between the Middle East and Latin America, and the protection of cultural heritage and memory in Iraq. As an artist, Amanda receives inspiration from her cultural heritage and military experiences. At the moment, she is particularly interested in the depiction of women of color in classical art tropes, as well in the exploration of traditional and popular Puerto Rican heritage and culture. Her preferred artistic media include beadwork, natural light portrait photography, and photo collage. She also sews, embroiders, and weaves, making many of the costumes and garments that her portrait subjects wear. Finally, she is also inspired by frequent traveling and travel photography. She will begin a second masters program in Near Eastern Studies at New York University in Fall 2022.
Photo by Joanna O'Shea
I was born in NYC to Puerto Rican and Dominican parents. My genetic makeup is Southern Iberian (60%), Western Sub-Saharan African (25%), Indigenous American (10%), and mixed Italian/Ashkenazie Jewish (5%). This mestizaje is reflective of the racial mixture that resulted from brutal colonialismo tactics in the Caribbean after Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.
My work is an interpretation of the Nuyorican experience and a reflection of Puerto Rico’s complex history with colonialism. I explore traditional themes and motifs that are abundant in Puerto Rican culture, either from the island’s indigenous culture, brought over by European conquistadors, or which exemplify Nuyorican culture. My primary medium is beadwork, an art form deeply rooted in indigenous cultures, but I also use embroidery, photography, and Western painting techniques. I consider my artistic style mestizo, a mixture of indigenous and Western traditions which mirrors
my own genetic mestizaje. The culture of the Taínos—an Arawak people indigenous to the Caribbean—is prominent in my art. It is estimated that 60% of modern-day Puerto Ricans have Taíno DNA. Additionally, dark-skinned women are a dominating presence in my work, which is crucial in my exploration of Puerto Rico’s colonialist history and the country’s role in the Slave Trade. I often invoke religious themes, as religion is entrenched in modern Puerto Rican culture. I play on Catholic thematic concepts by utilizing women of color as protagonists in bible stories that are traditionally embodied by men or depicted with white skin. For example, I have painted The Three Wise Women and regularly depict the Virgin Mary as a woman of color.
My work challenges presumptions about American identity and reflects upon a complicated US heritage that is the product of and perpetual victim of racial violence.
2021 - present: Research Associate/Bibliographer of Indigenous American Art. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
2021 - present: Research Fellow. The Hispanic Society Museum & Library, New York, NY.
2022 - present: Archives Intern. World Monuments Fund, New York, NY.
2021: Archives Intern. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
2021: Collections and Publications Intern. The Jewish Museum, New York, NY.
2021: Archives Intern. Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York, NY.
2010-present: Freelance artist, designer, and portrait, lifestyle, and art photographer.
2018-present: PhotoVogue Portfolio
2019-Event Photographer: What's Up? Magazine, 2019 Bridal Expo, Annapolis, MD. 27 January; The Look, Annapolis, MD. 1 March. page 36; 2019 Spirit of Community Awards. Live! Casino, MD. 15 March. page 41; 15th Anniversary of South River on the Half Shell. History London Town and Gardens, MD. 9 May.
2013 - 2020: Iraqi-Arabic linguist, United States Air Force.
2021 – Diary of a Nuyorican, virtual solo exhibition. Exhibizone, Biafarin Online Gallery. November 27 – December 27.
2021 - The Flag Project, Rockefeller Center. Curated by Aperture Foundation. 27 March - 30 April.
2021 - Der Greif, Guest Room monthly online exhibition, curated by Anna-Alix Koffi. January 31.
2020 - Chromatic Awards International Color Photography Contest, Honorable mention, Amateur Portrait Category.
2020 - Chromatic Awards International Color Photography Contest, Honorable mention, Amateur Fine Art Category.
2020 - Photo Oxford, "Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen," 7th place.