Over the course of her tragically short career, Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta created a powerful body of work in photography, performance, film, video, drawing, sculpture and site-specific installation. Addressing issues of gender, cultural and racial identity in poignant and haunting ways, her works explore themes of displacement, mortality, the female body, human connection the natural world and violence.
This Pioneers survey presents 27 over the over 100 films and videos made by the artist over a ten-year period. The series consists of two screenings whose titles are drawn from a poem discovered in Mendieta’s diary. The programme includes a discussion with Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, film archivist, the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection; Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance); and Michael Wellen, Curator, International Art specialising in Latin America.
'Pain of Cuba / body I am'
Saturday 20 January, 14.00
This screening presents a selection of the short films Mendieta made between 1971 and 1974, beginning with what is believed to be her first film. Mendieta appears in the majority of the films from this period, whether in public performances or in privately filmed actions. Using materials such as animal blood, bird feathers, grass, air, water and earth, she stages ritualistic scenes characterised by their deep sense of poignancy and poetic beauty.
The screening is followed by a discussion.
Full listing: bit.ly/AnaMendieta1
'The earth that covers us speaks'
Saturday 20 January, 17.00
This screening presents a selection of short films Mendieta made between 1975 and 1981. In 1975, the artist experimented with different imaging and processing technologies including video and Cinefluography (X-ray motion film). These are the last films in which she appears.
In Mendieta’s Silueta films (1974–81), we see the artist’s silhouette inscribed into various outdoor landscapes in Iowa and Mexico using natural elements such as earth, sand, flowers, rock and grass, often in conjunction with flammable materials such as fireworks and gunpowder.
The programme concludes with two films shot in Mendieta’s native country of Cuba. These works capture the artist’s rock etchings and sand sculpture of goddess figures from the Pre-Columbian Taíno culture.
Full listing: bit.ly/AnaMendieta2
— Ana Mendieta (1948–1985, Cuba) was a Cuban-American artist whose practice activated a potent dialogue between sculpture, performance, photography, film, video, painting and site-specific installation. Her works draw in a vast array of cultural, religious and artistic influences, from Afro-Cuban and indigenous Caribbean traditions to Catholicism to conceptual art and performance. They explore themes of mortality, the female body, human connection to the natural world, violence, displacement and cultural, spiritual, racial and gender identity. She is best known for her Silueta series, or what she has termed her ‘earth-body’ works, in which her silhouette is inscribed through various materials in outdoor, and later indoor, landscapes, recorded through photography and film.