An Art of Return: Ana Mendieta and Whispering Cave
“I have been carrying out a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette). I believe this has been a direct result of my having been torn from my homeland (Cuba) during my adolescence. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature). My art is the way I re-establish the bonds that unite me to the universe.” - Ana Mendieta, 1981
The same year she wrote these words, Mendieta made art for the first time in her home country. There, she began the series Esculturas Rupestres, carving stylized female figures that were later titled after Taíno goddesses into the soft limestone walls of the caves of Jaruco National Park and documenting her work in still and moving images. Although many of these earth-body sculptures were long thought to be destroyed, the artist’s niece, filmmaker Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, embarked on a journey years later to discover whether any trace of them remained.
For this program Ana Mendieta’s Esculturas Rupestres film (1981) is paired with Raquel Cecilia Mendieta’s Whispering Cave (2018), a documentary chronicling her research and mission to locate her aunt’s “lost” works. For this program, the Nasher welcomes Raquel Cecilia as a special guest, who in addition to her work as a filmmaker and writer, is also the Administrator for the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection and has overseen the digital restoration of Ana Mendieta’s works on film and video. The film program will conclude with a Q + A and conversation with Raquel Cecilia on the making of Whispering Cave and her work with Mendieta’s archive.
About Raquel Cecilia
Raquel Cecilia is an independent filmmaker and writer best known for her recent films on her aunt, artist Ana Mendieta. Her films have screened at film festivals and art museums world-wide, such as Frameline in San Francisco, BFI’s Flare Festival in London, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, the Jeu de Paume in Paris and most recently at MO.CO., Panacée, in Montpellier, France and SESC Pompéia, São Paulo, Brazil. Raquel has published numerous essays about Ana Mendieta in art catalogues and is the Administrator for the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection. She is currently finishing a feature length documentary about the life and art of Ana Mendieta.
Groundswell: Women of Land Art is made possible by leading support from the Texas Commission on the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, and the Jean Baptiste "Tad" Adoue, III Fund of The Dallas Foundation. Generous support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. Additional support is provided by Joanne Bober, Humanities Texas, Ann and Chris Mahowald, Leigh Rinearson, the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District (DTPID), and Susan Inglett.