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My parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States in the late 1970s in search of the elusive American Dream. As a result, I was born in the United States, and raised between New York City and Santo Domingo.
Growing up in Washington Heights as an only child felt very isolating. I coped by immersing myself in American television and pop-culture. I felt a profound sense of disconnect to my Dominican culture but when my grandmother passed away in 1999, the question of “Where do I come from?” became an urgent preoccupation. Photography became my way of exploring the identity and culture I previously took for granted and my study began in the Heights. – Groana Melendez, 2015