Iyare [Mother], from the Rupestrian Sculptures Series
17.9 cm x 25.2 cm (7 1/16 in. x 9 15/16 in.)
(Havana, Cuba, 1948 - 1985, New York City)
Latin America, Cuban
Medium and Support:
Photo-etching on chine collé
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of The Judith Rothschild Foundation and the Michener Acquisitions Fund, 1999
Following the Cuban Revolution, Ana Mendieta’s family sent her to the United States as an unaccompanied young child. This traumatic separation informed much of her work, which explores native Caribbean religions, Afro-Cuban rituals, feminine archetypes, and landscape. In 1981, she returned to Cuba for the first time since her exile. For this series of photographs, Mendieta carved abstract figures named after Taíno and Ciboney goddesses in the limestone grottos of Jaruco Park outside of Havana, where indigenous people once lived. She meant for the low-relief sculptures, which resembled petroglyphs, to be discovered by future visitors to the park, though they ultimately eroded. Her photographs take on an ethnographic character, pretending to document the monumentality of ancient forms.