Latinx Artist Fellowship
María Magdalena Campos Pons
I claim space for women’s issues, collecting and telling stories of forgotten people, in order to foster a dialogue to better understand and propose a poetic, compassionate reading of our time. My work over the past 35 years addresses Postcoloniality and the complexities that entangle the narratives, connections and mutual dependency of the North and the South. My work speaks to an ancestral knowledge and tradition to give a voice to the darkest narratives with grace and aesthetic elegance. Fragility, ephemerality, and a transient quality of time and place are visible components in my vocabulary, which I explore through video, film, photography, installation, and performance. I am compelled by the democratic process of art-making that challenges the participation, presence, and bodily immersion of the viewer.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons (she/her; b. Matanzas, Cuba 1959) is an artist whose work combines and crosses diverse artistic practices, including photography, painting, sculpture, film, video, and performance. Her work addresses issues of history, memory, gender, and religion; it investigates how each of these themes influences identity formation. Directly informed by the traditions, rituals, and practices of her ancestors, her work is deeply autobiographical. Often using herself and her Afro-Cuban relatives as subjects, she creates historical narratives that illuminate the spirit of people and places, past and present, thereby rendering universal relevance from personal history. Recalling dark narratives of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, her imagery and performances honor the labor of black bodies on sugar plantations, renew Catholic and Santerían religious practices, and celebrate revolutionary uprisings in the Americas.
Campos-Pons has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other institutions. She has presented over thirty solo performances commissioned by institutions like the Guggenheim and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (both in collaboration with sound artist Neil Leonard). She also (in collaboration with Leonard) participated in the 49th Venice Biennial, the 55th Venice Biennial, and Documenta 14. Her works are held in over 50 museums around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Perez Art Museum, Miami.
Campos-Pons is currently the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University and lives and works in Nashville, TN.