Abby Miranker

New Haven, CT

I believe in the power of creating as a tool for healing and a tool for expression. As a practicing artist, my primariy mediums include photography, zine-making, and painting. I have participated in a range of Art collectives across New York, Boston, Mexico and Cuba. I am particularly interested in grassroots arts organizations that are interested in challenging capitalism, political and social injustice, and the heirarchies that art institutions historically place on creation. I am looking to become involved with collaborative projects and like-minded indivuduals where I can make art in a collaborative envoronment, and be involved in a community dedicated to the arts as a tool for expression and change.

RESEARCH INTERESTS: I am exploring graduate programs and research opportunities in Art, Art History and Visual Anthropology, and am especially interested in areas where the disciplines of Art History, Latin American Studies and Anthropology intersect. For my senior thesis at Brandeis University, I initiated a project on contemporary photography in Cuba, and was awarded travel grants to visit Cuba twice, first working with artists and curators at the Havana Biennial, and then conducting secondary interviews with practicing artists in a Cuban photography collective. My thesis focused on the way in which artists use photography as a medium to document collective identity, as well as the sociopolitical dynamics that the Havana Biennial historically has created for Cuban artists. I want to continue studying art in its social context, and also include tangible, creative output in my research practice. This year, I am looking to gain experience in filmmaking, and artistic and anthropological research. Below are the areas I am particularly interested in: 

• contemporary art as a social and political tool on topics surrounding migration, indigenous identity, diasporic identity, and grassroots activism—especially in the context of Latin America. 

• artistic mediums involving replication and accessibility in their distribution, i.e. photography, film, independent art publishing, and art collectives. 

• aesthetics and production of art mediums. 

• The significance of art in society in relation to the shift towards contemporary and digital media communications. 



 I am interested in living in Mexico to pursue work and research opportunities in the arts. I studied Latin American and Latino Studies and Art History at Brandeis University, graduating last year with a double major (magna cum laude). My interest in these two fields began with a three-month long program before university, with travel and homestays in BoPeru, and continued at Brandeis through coursework in Latin American art. I spent a semester abroad at La Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico, where I enrolled in courses in anthropology and fine arts taught in Spanish. I was particularly inspired by the environment of creative entrepreneurship existing among my peers, both at the university and in the city itself. Creative ideas took hold collaboratively and rapidly, and I felt a constant ability to see projects take shape in relation to topics and artistic ideas that interested me. In Mexico, I was able to take on photographic projects related to my coursework in Urban Anthropology, as well as personal creative interests, informed by my environment and experience. I am inspired by the range of creativity that is a result of artists’ response to political and social histories across the world. I hope to continue pursuing these interests through varying topics and mediums within the social and cultural context of living in Mexico.