Iris Peynado and Jenny Polanco, recognized at the Festival of Dominican Women in Italy

Dominican Republic has great women. In art, culture, politics or fashion, the country boasts excellent professionals, not only leaving traces at the national level, but also internationally.

The list is long, but there are two of them who have done such impeccable work in Europe that, recently, they have been honored at the Dominican Women’s Festival in Italy. They are the actress Iris Peynado and the designer Jenny Polanco (posthumous).

The work carried out has been so distinguished that the Magazzino Gallery together with the cultural association RO.SA.M. dedicated to women in the city of Venice has granted a review titled MU(J)LIERES, stories of Dominican women in Venice, edited by Roberta Semeraro.

The article is due to the fact that this year the guest was the Casa de la Cultura Dominicana, which presented a photographic tribute to the Dominican actress Iris Peynado, and the ‘Dominican Women’s Festival’.

In the words of the curator, the art critic Roberta Semeraro: “The Latin ‘Mulieres’ from which the Spanish ‘Mujeres’ comes, indicated women of mature age and mostly married… In ancient times, pearls, as a symbol of fertility, they adorned above all mature women and, due to their rarity, nobles and aristocrats, for whom they were more accessible”.

Having said this, Semeraro explains that the photo chosen for the representative poster of this year’s exhibition is of the Dominican actress Iris Peynado, who plays the role of the girl with the pearl earring.

iris peynado

This Dominican was the first Afro-Latin face of Italian cinema and television in the eighties. In 1984 she played Astrhaia, the warrior on horseback, in the film ‘Non ci resta che piangere’, with Roberto Benigni and Massimo Troisi. Her long career in film and television has made her not only an icon of feminine beauty in the world, but also an important reference for many Afro-American women of her generation who have seen in her the recognition of rights and dignity of her as women. Since 2018, Iris has been very active in the cultural life of Venice.

Jenny Polanco

This Dominican designer was another who took her talent around Europe and who, despite having physically departed from this world, left a legacy that is recognized today within the Dominican Women’s Festival in Italy. Dance and music shows accompanied by narration by Dominican women, among whom was the artist-photographer Marian Balcácer, were part of the acts. One of the most emotional moments was the tribute to fashion designer Jenny Polanco, which was in charge of Antonia Jean and Iris Peynado.

This designer crossed borders with her designs inspired, as she always said, by her beloved Dominican Republic. White was the protagonist of her collections, although there are nuances in her pieces that also speak of her passion for colors. She managed to establish her atelier both in her country and in Europe, the United States and other places in Latin America.