Partners In Design


Spotlight: Ana Mendieta

Today, As I was asked to list some American Artists that inspired me, I was struck with the realization that there truly aren't many American artists out there that bring that kind of creativity out of me. Through my web of thoughts, I was brought to remembering my first time being interested in the art of my heritage. I had a professor at SVA, Alejandra Munizaga (an accomplished installation artist), who became the first to really push me to embrace the art of my nationality. I'm Cuban-American, and my family is all from either Cuba or Spain. And it wasn't until the point of being pushed that I was able to see what I'd kept myself very far from. I have a family history, I come from a very specific line of individuals that have a culture all their own. And although I was not born in that time or country, I am still affected by it and have seen it's affect on my life in small, subtle ways.

One of the first artists that I came across, due to an experiment put upon me from the very same professor, was a fantastic sculptor/photographer/painter from Cuba: Ana Mendieta. Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba but moved to the United States at a young age.At 13, she and her older sister were exiled from Cuba because her family opposed the revolutionary government. They were placed in foster care in Iowa through Operation Peter Pan run by the U.S. government. She studied in the Intermedia Area of The University of Iowa in the late 1960s. Her life in Iowa City included a few years teaching art at Henry Sabin Elementary School in the mid-1970s.

Much of Mendieta's work had a feminist political message. She made an abrupt change to performance art in 1972 and most of her interventions, performance pieces and cine films were made between 1972 and 1978. A common theme in her performance art was violence against the female body. She often went for the shock factor in representing sexual abuse and many of her performances involved significant quantities of animal blood.

Later Mendieta moved on to leaving her mark on the environment, most particularly in her silueta pieces which typically involved carving her imprint into sand or mud, making body prints or painting her outline or silhouette onto a wall.

She died on 8 September 1985 in New York falling from a 34th floor apartment in Greenwich Village. Eight months earlier Mendieta had married the minimalist sculptor Carl Andre. Andre was tried and acquitted of her murder - during the trial he described her death as suicide. (Thanks to Wikipedia for this Bio)

She was a very accomplished and intense artist who left her mark on the art world and really represented the Cuban culture in an inspiring way. Below are some of her works:


Alexandra said...

I find her photography very interesting, especially the last example of the woman blending into the tree. I really should research more Cuban and Spanish painters and artists to get better acquainted with my artistic heritage.

Laz said...

its really interesting when you delve into it. It's always tougher because cuban artist's arent very prominent in popular art culture. But im sure there are dozens of fantastic cuban/latino artists out there that we have never even tapped into.