María Magdalena Campos-Pons
Maria is well thought of among her fellow artists in Havana, especially those who have taken an interest in AfroCuban themes:
|MULTIMEDIA ARTIST MARIA MAGDALENA CAMPOS-PONS TO
PREMIERE INSTALLATION AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Spoken Softly with Mama
March 5-May 26, 1998
Garden Hall Video Gallery, third floor
Multimedia artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959) debuts a site-specific installation entitled Spoken Softly with Mama, on March 5, 1998 at The Museum of Modern Art. The Cuban-born, Boston-based artist combines elements of sculpture, painting, photography, performance, and video work to explore her African/Cuban roots and to address themes of gender, race, family and history. Spoken Softly with Mama will remain on view through May 26, 1998.
"Unfolding layers of history and experience, Campos-Pons brings to light the ephemeral qualities of everyday lives and untold stories. The artist's life and work involve a continuous engagement with her mother, sisters, family, and neighbors in Cuba. By extension, her work refers to the generations of Africans transported there in centuries past to work on sugarcane and tobacco plantations who transcended their oppression through the strength of their religious and cultural practices," says Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film and Video, who organized the exhibition.
Spoken Softly with Mama is the second part of a series entitled History of People Who Were Not Heroes, begun in 1994 as a chronicle of the former slave barracks in the province of Matanzas, Cuba where Campos-Pons was born. This new installation comprises projected video images, cast-glass irons, wooden objects, fabric, and sound, evoking and transforming the memories and experiences of the town's inhabitants. It is also a portrait of the artist's family, revealed through their imprint on household objects and told through the women's voices and songs.
"A space can bear the imprint of its inhabitants even in their absence. An object can personify an individual even more than his or her portrait. This is the concept behind the selection of objects-furniture for the installation; a portrait of a family narrated through the voices of objects that constitute their environment," says Campos-Pons of Spoken Softly with Mama.
The first part of History of People, A Town Portrait (1994) will be on view at the Lehman College Art Gallery, New York, N.Y., through May 16, concurrent with the MoMA exhibition. Ms. Campos-Pons created this work during her residence as a Bunting Fellow of Visual Arts at Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College at Harvard.
This exhibition is supported by The Junior Associates and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
The Museum presents a screening and discussion in conjunction with this exhibition:
Monday, March 9, 1998, 6:30 p.m.
Multimedia artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons discusses Spoken Softly with Mama, as well as her installation work that combines elements of sculpture, painting, photography, and performance. Video Viewpoints is organized by Sally Berger.
artist examines her own exile 1/26/2016 BBC: "After she moved to the US,
the artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons couldn't return to Cuba for a long time.
During that period of exile, she had a recurring dream about a train journey
inside Cuba. When she finally returned to Cuba, the dream disappeared. Her
latest project, ‘Alchemy of the Soul, Elixir for the Spirits’, explores this and
many other themes."
ART REVIEW: 'Alchemy of the Soul' by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons at Peabody Essex Museum 1/16/2016 Ipswich Chronicle: "Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, a Cuban native but now a longterm Boston-area resident, revisits her own heritage as well as the complex history of the sugar trade in an understated, reflective exhibition, “Alchemy of the Soul,” on view through April 3 at the Peabody Essex Museum."
Rum, Rumba, Slaves And Ghosts: A New Art Installation Evokes The Cuban Sugar Industry 1/14/2016 WBUR: "This professor at Berklee College of Music has traveled to Cuba many times over the decades. “The most famous rumba group to come from the docks featured [Raphael] El Niño Pujado, so we asked him if he would record some songs that he sang — on the docks, carrying sugar, as a young boy,” Leonard recalled. Leonard’s sparky, articulate wife María Magdalena Campos-Pons chimed in to elaborate on the dock workers and history evoked by the rumba musician’s singing. “These were the people who were trading the sugar sacks that were exported out to Massachusetts, where the rum — the liquor — was going to be processed and made,” Campos-Pons told me."
Family Ties: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons's art 1/30/2013 Boston Phoenix: "Family has long been one of the central subjects of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons's art. Early on, her paintings spoke of ties stretched when she emigrated from her native Cuba to Boston more than 20 years ago."
María Magdalena Campos-Pons explores memory with a video installation at The Frist 10/20/2011 Nashville Scene: "During a recent artist's talk at Vanderbilt, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons said that the umbilical cord is the first line we draw as human beings, and it's also the first line we don't have control over. That small observation — that people have the innate, biological ability to create, but not control, their destinies — is a perfect example of how Campos-Pons approaches her art. She presents something familiar and creates a ritual that gives it a symbolic dimension."
Mujer Negra ante el espejo 7/30/2011 Nueva Onda Cuba: "Las investigadoras Inés Maria Martiatu Terry, Sandra del Valle, Maria Ileana Faguaga Iglesias, Yusimi Rodríguez, Yesenia Selier, Sandra Álvarez Ramírez, Odette Casamayor Cisneros, las poetisas y narradoras Georgina Herrera, Carmen González, Teresa Cárdenas, la cineasta Gloria Rolando, la dramaturga Fátima Patterson, la actriz Elvira Cervera y la artista de la plástica María Magdalena Campos Pons son algunas de las celebres damas que escarban en sus mas íntimos latigazos, contribuyen a descifrar ciertas trampas confinadas en el mercado del silencio."
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Dreaming of an Island on Viet at Spelman College 9/10/2008 Art Daily: "Campos-Pons states, “I am interested in rituals and traditions, how to place them into the contemporary setting. African tradition is my everyday life experience. I don’t have to search for my roots. . . I believe it’s possible to live in America and at the same time, in Cuba spiritually and mentally.” The artist’s work testifies to the fact that identity is contradictory, flexible and mobile. Her work shares a formal sensibility with African American artists Lorna Simpson and Carrie Mae Weems. Often confronting stereotypes about black women and incorporating photographs of the black female body, text and in serial format, Campos-Pons often investigates the meaning of black female identity in an Afro-Cuban context."
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons 2007 Video
interview in English, University of Colorado
An interview with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, a Cuban artist whose works explore the intersection of art and autobiography. Campos-Pons investigates themes of memory, matriarchy, domestic labor, race, femininity and heritage to make her personal stories resonate. - ResearchChannel is a nonprofit media and technology organization that connects a global audience with the research and academic institutions whose developments, insights and discoveries affect our lives and futures.
a the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Johannesburg Biennial, 97
MIT List Visual Arts Center, 99
Artwork for Sale
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