Use scholarly articles to explore the extent to which Ana Mendieta’s performance art is autobiographical and how effectively this connection has been shown.

Scholarly articles show that Ana Mendieta’s performance art is autobiographical because her works highlight the violence and suffering that she witnessed and experienced in real life.

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One scholarly article to check out is “Ana Mendieta” by the art historian Kaira M. Cabañas. In this article, Cabañas summates Mendieta’s biography and connects it to her performance art.

In 1973, Mendieta created a performance piece called Rape-Murder. For the this work, Mendieta presented herself as a victim of a violent sexual assault. The audience consisted of students in her MFA program. At the time, Mendieta was studying art at the University of Iowa.

The performance could be considered autobiographical in multiple ways. One way is in its connection to Mendieta’s experience as a female and a frequent target of predatory male desire. In her life, Mendieta wanted to draw attention to the sexual violence that women faced. While Mendieta was attending the University of Iowa, a student was raped and killed.

Another way to connect Rape-Murder to Mendieta’s autobiography is through political strife and colonization. Mendieta was born in Cuba, where she witnessed a violent clash between the communist leader Fidel Castro and the United States-supported military figure Fulgencio Batista. Cuba was a former colony of the United States. It’s possible to argue that the savagery and violation depicted in Rape-Murder reflects the geopolitical brutalities that have beset Mendieta.

As other scholars have noted, blood is a frequent theme in Mendieta’s performances. In (Untitled) Body Tracks, Mendieta uses animal blood as well as Cuban music. It shouldn’t be too difficult to relate these elements to Mendieta’s life story.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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