Dominique Hunter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 83-90

Print Length

7 pages

5. Transplantation

  • Dominique Hunter (author)
Guyanese-born artist Dominique Hunter, based in the nation’s capital city of Georgetown, moves in and out of several geographic spaces within the Caribbean and North America for various artist residencies and opportunities. They are what she calls ‘mini migrations.’ Yet, she is vocal about rooting her artistic practice in Guyana, even while it is subjected to the ebb and flow of departure. In her art essay, ‘Transplantation,’ Hunter tells us that from a very young age, the Guyanese citizen is indoctrinated with the charge to leave their country. ‘There is an expectation once you have reached a certain age: pack what you can and leave. I am well past that age, yet I remain, stubbornly rooted in the land my parents spent their lives cultivating,’ she writes. What a spectacular thing for any citizen of any place to grapple with—to be, from birth, dispossessed of one’s own land. As both artist and citizen in Guyana, we are shown how she shoulders the personal, political, and economic consequences of Guyanese leaving their native land in droves. In her essay, Hunter uses a dictionary definition of ‘transplantation’ as a metaphorical device to engage ideas of migration and rootedness. She shepherds us through what she deems, ‘A guide to surviving transplantation and other traumas.’ In both her words and collages, Hunter layers organic imagery reminiscent of Guyana’s lush vegetation found in its interior Amazon as well as on its riverbeds and the famous Sea Wall on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Embedded in her visual imagery is a silhouetted self-referential figure. Its haunting presence among the flora and fauna thrives amidst Guyana’s extreme elements of temperature wind, water, and sand. In this symbolic artistic gesture, Hunter insists that the act of staying, of being rooted, of choosing not to be transplanted, is its own kind of agency.


Dominique Hunter