Ana Mendieta

Ana Mendieta was born in Havana but was sent away with her sister as a political refugee in 1961 after her father fell out with the Castro regime. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in painting in 1972. Her work was in an area between Body, Performance, and Land art. She identified the female body with the earth. Her work also addressed the issue of violence against women. In one performance of 1973, which followed the rape and murder of a student at the University of Iowa, she recreated the scene of the crime with herself taking the role of the victim. In other works she used the form of her own schematized figure, cutting it into the earth or setting it on fire. She made drawings on leaves, producing works of extreme fragility. She was married to Carl Andre and died after plunging from the window of their New York apartment. Andre was charged with her murder but acquitted. However, suspicions have remained. When his work was shown at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1993 a feminist demonstration carried banners inscribed “Where is Ana Mendieta?”

Chilvers, Ian, and John Glaves-Smith. A dictionary of modern and contemporary art. Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.

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