Dominique Sindayiganza / Sasha Dees

“Sindayiganza makes my favorite art of all, the kind that makes us question and check ourselves”.

Sindayiganza has been a resident in Jamaica, Queens for exactly a decade. It is where he came of age as a professional photographer. He’s is a gangling easy going man with a passion for life and the often natural curiosity and a genuine interest in people that comes with that. Sindayiganza is the type of person that you would miss walking on the streets as he blends in well and attracts no attention to himself. That is until he wants your attention and with his open demeanor he effortlessly gets it. People will share their live stories, dreams, fears, hopes and silences with him.

His personality translates in his art work. We don’t look at his portraits, he makes us “see” the people and with that feel the vulnerability of humanity. In a world where there is so much fear for otherness, his work is inclusive. Imaging has proven to be a very powerful tool. It is also being used very unilaterally in mass media. In the work of Sindayiganza we really “see” the people of Jamaica, Queens because he does. These are his day to day encounters; neighbors, mail men, students, bus drivers, dentists, bank tellers. We see skin tones, hair textures, hoodies, caps, headscarves, low hanging jeans, suits, sari’s, uniforms, djellabas, age, gender. We recognize the bravura, swag, gestures, and the lowering or bold gaze at us, the pain, the smiles and laughs of people in their daily lives.

In our minds we eat, dance, laugh, cry and just sit and “be” with the people we meet with him. We bring kids to school and participate in school activities. We see the proud girl with her head scarf raising her fist and smile back at her in acknowledgement. We eat singara on the corner and talk about a cool new color nail polish with the girl in the take away store. We fill our grocery bags discussing where are the weekend sales. We sit in our next-door neighbor’s car with a sick child going to the doctor.

Sindayiganza work is beyond aesthetics and technicality it is also giving us substance. In this series he is showing us humanity in all its glory. Sindayiganza makes my favorite art of all, the kind that makes us question and check ourselves.


Sasha Dees

Sasha Dees is an independent international curator and cultural producer. She is a contributing writer for ARC Magazine, Africanah, and Trendbeheer.