Ana Mendieta was born in 1948 in Havana, Cuba. She traveled to U.S. as a refugee when she was 12 years old. Ana Mendieta studied at the University of Iowa and created most her early performances work.
As we see Mendieta’s works are associated with four basic elements of nature, “water, earth, fire, and air”, and also blood. Except a few of them, most of her works are about Pain, violence, rape, death, feminism, and rupture of culture displacement, which are not as normal things that we see in our daily life. I agree that all those happen everyday in the world, but most of us don’t experience them in our lives, and don’t even think about them. Before researching about her, just by looking at her artworks, you may think that she wasn’t an artist. She was just a person that had mental problem, because all you see on her artworks are some disgusting pictures, violence, bleeding, … that nobody wants to see.
In the picture above, Ana covered her body with mud to become a part of the nature. About this artwork, she says: “I have been carrying on a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette)… I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature). Through my earth/body sculptures I become one with the earth… I become an extension of nature and nature becomes an extension of my body…”. In biological view this artwork shows to viewers that after a human die, her body is decomposed to the basic elements of nature and absorbed by the roots of trees to become a part of the nature again. So, if we think this way, Ana’s work is different from other artists, who bold the human body in their artwork, because she is talking about after death, but other artists are talking about life before death.
As we see in most Ana’s artworks, like the picture above, violence, blood, death … are the main factors of them. As the professor Zucman mentions in the video, Ana came to U.S. when she was 12 years old. So, it makes sense if we say she might didn’t have a peaceful background, and she was influenced by her past. You can prove this by looking at her past before coming to U.S. Because in 1959 when Ana was 10 years old, Marxist revolution by Fidel Castro was happened in Cuba.
In this picture, we can see Ana’s view of feminist. They both women and chicken are female and are used by men. The blood, which we see a lot in Ana’s artworks like this picture has a strong message for the viewers about the content of the work. The reason of using blood in her works can be different for everybody, but in my opinion, it is probably because of the revolution and war in Cuba. Ana Mendieta died in 1985 by falling from her apartment’s window in 34th floor, which is more likely was suicide.