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Artist’s Biography

Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez (b. Cuba, 1957) is an experimental filmmaker and visual artist working with expanded cinema, public intervention, installation, and media design for the stage. Often incorporating nature and the outdoors into her work, Dinorah probes such themes as genetic memory, social constructs, ecology, the body, gender, and sexuality. Combining handcrafted 16mm film with video, installation, and performance, her pieces are exhibited internationally in film festivals, museums, galleries, TV, public venues, and multimedia performances, as well as in public spaces as interventions. Known for her multidisciplinary collaborations, Dinorah has worked with a variety of international artists.

Her newest projects, completed in 2020, include “R u i n a s” and “mis amores,” two short films that were scheduled for premiere in two separate film festivals in Cuba, both of which were postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019-2020, Dinorah’s work was exhibited at the Miami International Airport Moving Image Gallery, as well as the Screendance Miami Festival at The Light Box. Her work was also featured at the Miami New Media Festival presented by Doral Museum at Laundromat Space in 2019.

In recent years, the artist has also returned to her native Cuba to exhibit a mini-retrospective featuring 13 short films at the Havana International Film Festival in December of 2019, as well as a screening of her work “mujer_cita_MIA” accompanied by a live dance performance by Niurca Marquez at the 13th Havana Biennial in May 2019. In 2018, she presented two installations at the Centro de Desarrollo de la Artes Visuales in Havana: “…y todavía bailamos,” and “Las Dos Aguas,” both of which contain video imagery in combination with sculptural installation elements.

In 2017, Dinorah participated in a multidisciplinary residency in collaboration with choreographer Lucia Aratanha, sponsored by National Performance Network and Mujeres en las Artes in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, which resulted in a street performance titled “Esquema María,” addressing the influence of the Virgin Mary in the lives and identity of Latinas. In 2016 she completed a dance film and installation entitled “gods always behave like the people who make them” based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston, in collaboration with choreographer and dancer Shaneeka Harrell and hip-hop/rap artist Sista Whirlwind. This work was presented at the University of Central Florida Gallery in Orlando, FL. The film from this installation also screened at Screendance Miami that same year.

Committed to community-based work in public venues Dinorah was commissioned by Present Project Hawai’i in September of 2014 to present “migrants/migrantes,” a site-specific multimedia installation in Honolulu as part of an educational residency. This work, presented in a shipping container and featuring elements of local flora, Hawaiian black sand, bits of film and transparent imagery, Petri dishes, magnifying lenses, film and video footage, and a soundscape by Honolulu-based artist Steven Rosenthal.

In 2013 she presented “mujer_cita_MIA” (2013), a series of dance videos on rape and sexual assault installed in public women’s restrooms across Miami. In 2012 she was commissioned by the Deering Estate to present “agua florida: free-swimming fish,” a site-specific indoor-/outdoor multimedia installation exhibited during the 2012 SoBay Cultural Arts Festival. In 2011, she presented “Sonámbula,” a film/video installation commissioned by the City of Miami Beach for presentation at Miami Beach Cinematheque during Sleepless Night 2011, again using live film projections.

Prior to this, the artist premiered an installation entitled “ellos y nosotros: them & us,” presented in the Project Room at Hollywood Art & Culture Center in 2010, which featured an installation of broken birdcages suspended in the air, while a hand-crafted film of birds flying plays on the ceiling and the sound of birdcalls fills the space. This was preceded by a site-specific installation work entitled “ephemera” at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden during Sleepless Night 2009, which featured footage of the garden projected from a window onto the garden itself, while strips of the actual film hung from tree branches.

Also in 2009, Dinorah won The FAN/Knight New Work Award in the amount of $50,000, awarded by Funding Arts Network and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and presented by Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, to create “Elusive Landscape,” a series of outdoor film installations that featured multiple live projections of handcrafted 16mm film loops at selected green spaces in Miami. The film loops, shot at these locations and then hand-worked by the artist, were then projected onto trees and foliage at the same locations where they were shot, activating these public outdoor spaces at night. The works were presented as public interventions at five outdoor venues across Miami from June-October 2010, including three public parks as well as the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

The interactive and ephemeral characteristics of these works integrate the immediacy of performance art with the materiality of visual art, and employ film as “live entertainment” much as film was originally designed to function in the early days of cinema as an outgrowth of live theater.

Dinorah’s extensive work in media design for stage includes collaborations with Karen Peterson and Dancers (Untold Stories, 2019), Nu Flamenco (Urdimbre y Trama, 2018), Teatro Buendía in Havana, Cuba and El Ingenio Teatro in Miami (Burdel, work-in-progress 2016); Pulitzer-winner, playwright and director Nilo Cruz (Tsunami, 2015); visually disabled theater director José Manuel Domínguez (La Princesa Aoi, 2015); choreographer and dancer Niurca Márquez and Nu Flamenco (History House, 2014); mixed-ability dance company Karen Peterson and Dancers (Grit, 2014); choreographer and dancer Afua Hall (RED, 2013). In 2012, Dinorah was invited by Arts & Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh and collaborate with fellow filmmaker and theater director Yasmine Kabir on the co-direction of a folkloric musical theater work (Amina Sundori, 2012) presented as part of the Chittagong Arts Festival 2012. Prior to this, Dinorah provided media design for projects with movement theater artists Lucia Aratanha (Swallowing the Moon, 2009), Las Negras Theater Collective featuring Jennylin Duany and Elizabeth Doud (Cabaret Unkempt, 2007), Octavio Campos (IPO, 2005), Helena Thevenot (The Anatomy of Desire, 2001) and Ricky Martinez (.epar, 1998), among others.

She has won prizes at the Big Muddy and Black Maria Film Festivals, and her work has been supported by such organizations as National Performance Network, Theater Communications Group, Present Project Hawai’i, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Funding Arts Network, FUNDarte, Arts & Bangladesh, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Fundación Valparaíso, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Jentel Artists Residency Program, Visual Studies Workshop, Tigertail Productions, Miami Light Project, San Francisco Festival 2000, and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, among others.

Committed to arts education practices, Dinorah has taught at the ICAIC (Cuban Institute of Cinematic Arts), and has been a visiting faculty artist in the MFA Program at SUNY’s Visual Studies Workshop, visiting artist at the University of Hawaii and University of Central Florida, teaching artist for Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program, and guest lecturer at Sweet Briar College, the University of California at Davis, and Florida International University. She has served on juries and selection committees for YoungArts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation’s National Video Resources, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the North and South Carolina Art Councils, and Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs.

She received a BA in Film Production at the School of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University and studied with such visionaries as Barbara Hammer, Trinh T. minh-ha, and the late Warren Sonbert and Marlon Riggs. Dinorah has been making experimental films and exhibiting her work professionally since 1978.