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Equinox by Dominick Cocozza


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About the work

Artist Dominick Cocozza discusses his work, stating, “Worldbuilding is at the utmost forefront of my painting practice. I situate each of the works as an opportunity to learn from and reckon with the Guatemalan doll figure through autobiographical storytelling and positioning the work through the characters’ viewpoints. My paintings are high in chroma and relate to layers of re-imagined cultural nostalgia. The characters, thus, represent ‘avatars’ of myself and partner, who narrate and journey to spaces that may feel potentially culturally distant. Each work becomes an integral chapter forging love and advocating for a contemporary positioning of Indigeneity. Through embodied layering of identity politics and the specificity of being an Indigenous Guatemalan Transracial adoptee, my work attempts to lay a foundation for these discourses through a demystification of global cultural hybridity. Therefore, the pictures are meant to accompany a broader conversation on Indigenous and Native American visibility and displacement.

The process of reclamation and various ways marginalized people accompany space inspires how I embrace worldbuilding as a positive force in building identity. My connection to Guatemalan culture has much to do with my real-world conversations with other Guatemalan-adoptees, undoc folks, and peers in these in-between spaces. Furthermore, my painting practice aspires to problem-solve in real-time, addressing my contextual histories, and casting opportunities for reclaiming collective memory.”

Currently on view as part of Reclamation on view at Southampton History Museum, May 10 – September 28, 2024.

Dominick Cocozza (b. 2001, Mazatenango, Guatemala) is a Guatemalan-American artist of Indigenous Maya Tz’utujil heritage based in Arlington, VA. He is currently pursuing a BFA in Painting and minoring in Politics and Policy at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with an expected graduation date of May 2024. His artistic practice aims to expand societal perceptions of Latinx culture, indigenous ancestry, and home. In foregrounding his transracial adoptee identity, he sheds light on adoptee narratives, cultural hybridity, and cultivating inclusive communities.

His works have been included in group exhibitions at The Pantheon Institute in Rome, Italy; Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC; The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC; Southampton History Museum in Southampton, NY; United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC; RISD Museum Gelman Gallery in Providence, RI; RISD Memorial Hall Gallery in Providence, RI; The Providence Art Club in Providence, RI; 82Parris Gallery in Portland, ME; Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery in Glen Echo, MD; The Cherokee Town & Country Club Art Collection Space in Atlanta, GA; Radford University Art Museum in Radford, VA and the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA.

Cocozza’s works have also been featured in online news outlets, including CNN, BBC News, Voice of America (VOA), Arlington Magazine, and Prensa Libre Guatemala. Most recently he was named a finalist in the 16th International Art Renewal Center (ARC) salon and received the Highly Commended Award Scholarship from The National Society of Arts and Letters Washington, DC, chapter. He will attend Ma’s House Artist Residency (Southampton, NY) located on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in the winter of 2024.

Artwork: Equinox, 2024 by Dominick Cocozza
31 x 34 inches Oil and wax on canvas


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