Ana Mendieta’s body melds into the earth. Its impression fills with crimson liquid—blood? The impression will erode over time, echoing the artist’s own sense of cultural erosion and disconnection from her home.
During Fidel Castro’s early reign in Cuba, Mendieta’s parents sent her and her older sister to live in the United States. She has said of the experience, “My exploration through my art of the relationship between myself and nature has been a clear result of my having been torn from my homeland during my adolescence. The making of my silueta in nature keeps (makes) the transition between my homeland and my new home. It is a way of reclaiming my roots and becoming one with nature. Although the culture in which I live is part of me, my roots and cultural identity are a result of my Cuban heritage.”
Today, the artist’s silhouette is a grim reminder of her death after falling from her thirty-fourth-floor New York apartment. Mendieta’s husband, the artist Carl Andre, was charged and acquitted of murder. Since then, activists have challenged museums that exhibit his work but not hers. They ask, “Where is Ana Mendieta?”
From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)