Born in 1948, Ana Mendieta is a Cuban artist who moved to America when she was twelve years old in order to escape the Fidel Castro regime. Her work is mainly autobiographical, and very visceral, especially for pieces where she used her own body, and even her own blood.
Focussing on themes such as feminism, violence, and life and death, Mendieta was an elemental artist. In her sculptures she used materials such as mud, sand, and grass, as well as harnessing fire, water, and earth.
In the first major retrospective since her death in 1985, the Southbank Centre presents Traces, a free exhibition that runs until the 15th December. Metaphors about life, death, and rebirth are key to her ideas about spiritual transformation, while leaf inscriptions written in blood depict our relationship with nature.
There will be a late night tour on 9th October, which although free, needs to be booked in advance. You can also delve deeper into Mendieta's life by attending a talk by Irit Rogoff for £8 on the 4th November. He will focus on one of her most significant projects, the Silueta Series.