Ana Mendieta’s film shown here was created on the beach of Guanabo, Cuba, the island from which she was exiled as a child and to which she did not return for two decades. In concave relief, she sculpted an abstract figure in the sand. The top of the form points inland, while the base points to the ocean, the body of water that connects her place of birth to her adopted homeland of the United States. The figure’s heart-shaped center is notably split in half. The sculpture is shown from different angles and vantage points, revealing the waves lapping against the shore and, later, the horizon. With the work so close to the ocean, it is soon filled with water before being ultimately washed away. This work exemplifies recurrent ideas in Mendieta’s oeuvre of exile and homecoming, displacement and a return to the landscape – themes which remain profoundly relevant today. Often referring to being ‘torn’ from her homeland, Mendieta persistently sought to connect with her origins by combining the body and the earth.
Ana Mendieta (born 1948 in Havana) created trailblazing photographs, films, videos, drawings, sculptures, and site-specific installations in her brief yet prolific career. Mendieta died 1985 in New York.
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