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Washington Heights Artist Shares Family Album Highlighting Immigrant Experience

By Carla Zanoni | August 19, 2010 7:13pm

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER MANHATTAN — Any one of Washington Heights' resident Groana Melendez's photographs is worth a thousand words when it comes to expressing the spirit and flavor of immigrant culture in the neighborhood.

Her current show, “Family Work Series,” is made up of 18 medium-format color prints that allow the viewer an intimate peek into the lives of the Dominican artist’s family — mother, father, aunts and uncles, the whole bunch — highlighting the chasm between émigrés in Washington Heights and those who remain in the Dominican Republic.

"I photograph my family because I have a need to immortalize them from my point of view," the Brooklyn-born artist said of her work.

"I act as both a participant and observer," she went on. "There are different class dimensions in my family; family that could afford certain luxuries versus those that live day by day. Judgments and prejudices are made from one part of the family to the other, and I have attempted to move between the two."

Melendez's photographs are currently on display at the New York Public Library's Aquilar branch at 174 East 110th Street through September 7.