Cuban born visual artist Ana Mendieta is best known for autobiographical "earth-body” performances that focused on a spiritual and physical connection with the Earth. Mendieta used photography, film, and sculpture in her practice and addressed issues of displacement, impressing her body in various outdoor locations and recording its imprint in photographs and video. She would fill a shape in the earth with the shape of her body, and fill it with with rocks, feathers, twigs, flowers, fire or blood. Her use of blood, earth, and other organic materials reflect Mendieta's passion for religious ritual. In 1978, Ana Mendieta joined the Artists In Residence Inc (A.I.R. Gallery) in New York, which was the first gallery for women to be established in the United States.
She died, tragically at age 36, in New York when she fell from her 34th-floor apartment. Some suspect her husband, artist Andre Carl of having thrown Mendieta from the window, though he was acquitted after a three-year trial. Ana Mendieta’s legacy continues to challenge humanity’s nonchalance and provoke people to connect with each other more authentically. She remains an enduring champion of the marginalized; of race, sex, and cultural identity.
- Tiffany Harker