Wk2 – Artist – Ana Mandieta
Ana Mandieta was born in Havana, Cuba but fled to the United States to escape Fidel Castro’s regime. Growing up in the United States, exiled from her home country, influenced much of her art work. Much of her artwork centers on feminism, violence, life, death, vulnerability, and belonging. Her artwork would make many people uncomfortable because some pieces include rape, blood, gore, and nudity. She was not afraid of bringing taboo subjects into the light, which is why she is such a respectful and brave artist. She steps out of her comfort zone in order to send a message with her art.
“I think all my work has been like that – a personal response to a situation … I can’t see being theoretical about an issue like that.”
Ana Mandieta’s Untitled (Rape Scene) was a response to a brutal rape and murder of a student of University of Iowa. She invited students to her apartment to witness a recreation of a rape scene. She stayed in one position with cow’s blood smeared all over where she was exposed. I can only imagine the horror the audience’s reaction was to this reenactment. The audience must have been horrified and uncomfortable, much like the victim of the rape and murder.
Untitled (Rape Scene) may be one of Mandieta’s strongest works. It takes a great deal of bravery to be able to reenact this scene and be able to talk about such a taboo subject. It sends a strong message about violence against women, and also shows the reality of the crime. Much of her works consist of feminist themes, and this what makes her art so significant. They bring up problems that women and men face in our society.
In Ana Mandieta’s Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) she transfers the beard from a fellow student at the time, pictured above. This was one of her earlier pieces while she was a graduate student at Iowa University. This work examines the boundary of what is typical for men and women. The biggest theme presented in this piece is gender. By having manly facial hair, she is going against what is “expected” for women, making this a feminist piece.
In Ana Mandieta’s Untitled (Death of a Chicken) she holds a decapitated chicken while blood spurts out onto her naked body. The main theme here is power yet vulnerability. Mandieta grips onto the powerless and decapitated chicken, therefore she has power over the chicken, yet, she is naked and this makes her vulnerable. So who really has the power here and who is not vulnerable? I think the message behind this piece is that having power also makes people vulnerable.
Much of Ana Mandieta’s artworks have such strong messages behind them, focusing on current problems in our society. The artwork I showed mostly deals with feminism, gender, and violence. Her art brings up taboo subjects that many would be uncomfortable talking about, or would be to scared to talk about in public. Bringing up these subjects makes her very brave and makes her a very respectful artist.
“Art is a material act of culture, but its greatest value is its spiritual role, and that influences society, because it’s the greatest contribution to the intellectual and moral development of humanity that can be made”
– Ana Mandieta