Duneska Suannette is an Artist, Educator, and Community Organizer whose work explores and re-imagines notions of connectedness throughout the Caribbean specifically focusing on Hispañola. In Suannette’s visual work they are currently producing paintings they title Portals as well as paper weavings serving to critique modern issues in Hispañola.
During this process, Suannette conceptualized the collective Guanábana. Steering away from notions of Latinidad, Guanábana aims to center the voices of Black folks with Antillean ancestry. Guanábana does so through a series of community centered programming, their most important being the Monthly Vigils in Honor of Black Lives in which they offered free food, groceries, hosted speakers, as well as handed out zines speaking on the existence and perseverance of Black culture in countries such as Puerto Rico and how their freedom is so innately tethered to the freedom of Black Americans.
Throughout the colder months Guanábana maintained a Book Club as well as building our Community Library. Guanábana has also held a monthly radio show at Playground Coffee Shop, as well as initiated an Instagram Residency for Artists of Antillean Ancestry. The aim being to work towards an imagined future in which we can find ways to connect, despite colonially imposed cultural points of reference such as language, and doing so through the lens of prison abolition.
Get to know Duneska Suannette Michel
What role can art and culture play in shaping the future of your neighborhood or the city at large?
During a time in which New York is rapidly shifting and displacement is violently altering communities, art and culture can serve to preserve memories we hold dear and protest happenings we oppose sternly.