Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948 and came to the United States in 1961 with her sister through Operation Peter Pan. She and her sister were relocated to Iowa where they were fostered by various local families. In 1978, after attending the University of Iowa, she moved to New York City to pursue her career as an artist. She is most noted for her site-specific sculpture as well as outdoor performance art. Her artworks include performances, drawings, installations, photographs and sculptures, many depicting female body forms created from natural materials such as soil, sand, grass and water. The works she created were mainly ephemeral and have only been preserved though the photos and videos she has taken.
Chalk, string or rope – depending on the chosen location for your work
Natural materials such as sand, stones, leaves or plants
Location to create your installation – patio or lawn
Silhouette – A representation of a figure or object showing only shape and outline, without interior detail. Historically in art they were cut from black paper and mounted on a white background.
Performance art – An art form that combines visual art with dramatic human performance.
Installation art – A visual artwork usually designed for a specific site or location.
Ephemeral art – An artistic creation that lasts only briefly due to the nature of what it is made from or environmental effects. Oftentimes, works of this nature are preserved with photography or video.
Inspiration for your Imagination
Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Sin título), 1981. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale; gift of C. Richard Hilker.
Find a suitable location to create your nature silhouette. The area should be large enough for you to lie down in a safe area away from foot and vehicle traffic.
Lay down on your back in the spot you have chosen. Ask a friend or family member to trace an outline of your head and body, with your arms down by your sides, in the spot you have chosen. If you are on a hard surface such as a patio, chalk can be used for the tracing, however if you are on grass or sand the outline can be made using string or rope.
Now that you have a silhouette outline, start to fill it in with the natural material you have chosen to do your project. Be sure to take photographs along the way as you make progress filling in the outline.
Additional photos can be taken as your artwork begins to deteriorate due to wind, rain or other outside causes.
You can also create an installation inside the house using the string tracing method and filling in your silhouette with small toys, clothing or kitchen objects.
*If you have any questions about these art activities please e-mail Sue at: [email protected]. Now in her garage making art!
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