The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this short, early artist statement, Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta explains that the first part of her life was spent in Cuba from where she believes her interest in primitive art and culture probably originated. As a child growing up in Cuba, she was exposed to a mixture of Spanish and African cultures. She states that “it is this sense of magic, knowledge, and power, found in primitive art, that has influenced my personal attitude toward art making.” Mendieta then explains the use of her body and the earth in her work as a way “to express the immediacy of life and the eternity of nature.”
Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948, and immigrated to the United States in 1961 as part of Operation Peter Pan (code name given to a CIA-enforced operation). She attended the University of Iowa, where she earned a BA and an MFA. Mendieta is most recognized for her body art and performances with feminist themes. The artist statement appears in Intermedia, a text published by the University of Iowa MFA program, where Mendieta was a graduate student. This is one of the earliest statements published by the artist and it appears alongside some of the most influential United States-based artists’ statements of the 1960s and ‘70s.