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Ana Mendieta

Silueta Works in Mexico

1973–77

Ana Mendieta was born into a politically prominent family in Cuba closely affiliated with the Communist movement led by Fidel Castro. When the alliance between Castro’s factions and Mendieta’s father turned sour in 1961, she was sent to live in the United States. Her exile informed the development of her ensuing work; she did not identify with a particular homeland and adopted various sites for her performances and their documentation. The untitled works that comprise the Silueta series, which she preformed as she traveled between Iowa and Mexico, reveal her interest in the earth as a site to address issues of displacement by recording the presence of her body—or the imprint it left behind—within different natural environments. Mendieta often filled in the silhouette of her body on the earth with various materials such as rocks, twigs, and flowers, as well as blood and gunpowder.

Ana Mendieta (b. 1948, Havana, Cuba; d. 1985, New York)
Silueta Works in Mexico, 1973–77, details
Color photographs
19 3/8 x 26 9/16 in. each
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with a grant provided by The Judith Rothschild Foundation

For the past five years I have been working out in nature, exploring the relationship between myself, the earth, and art. —Ana Mendieta