Ana Mendieta was a body, land and performance artist born in Cuba in 1948. Her father was supporter of Fidel Castro and was involved in counter-revolutionary activities that forced him to organise passage to America for Ana and her sister out of fear for their safety. Post-Cuban revolution Ana, aged 13, and her sister arrived in America in 1961 through Operation Pedro Pan, granting refuge for 14,000 children into Miami under protection of the Catholic Church.
Mendieta is seen as an influential figure of feminist art in the 1970s, her work evoking power of the female sexuality. Her work had a lot of spirituality to it, described as “earth-body art” Mendieta herself. It denotes a sense of cultural displacement as well as a deep relationship to the earth.
Her Silueta series situates self-portraits and female symbols into the earth, creating a strong sense of female power and connection to the natural world. Her inclusion of her body in the art allowed her to reestablish her connection to the earth. In an artist statement from the 1980s Mendieta said that “[her] art is grounded on the belief in one universal energy which runs through everything”.
Mendieta died in 1985 by falling from her apartment window onto the roof of a delicatessen. After her death people saw her art as foreshadowing of her fate as the impact of her fall left an imprint of her body on the roof.
Reading about Mendieta’s life and death I was very struck by the sense of earthly belonging in her work and the tragic poetic aspect to her death. I think that some day I would like to explore the relationship between humanity and nature in my work.