Contemporary Arts & Museums

I am hoping to explore over the next few terms how contemporary art practice can be integrated further into our thinking within the Primary Arts Programme. In my other role as a practicing artist I often come across exhibitions which make me reflect on how the Museum’s special ability to cross over many disciplines is a particularly exciting dynamic in context of thinking about challenging work we might do within Learning.

I came across the most amazing show a couple of weeks ago in London.  I have been waiting to see Ana Mendieta – a  little known artist for many many years. Cuban-born Mendieta (1948-85) made interventions in the landscape based around her own silhouette, such as pressing her hand into grass or arranging stones around her outline, and then took photographs. She also made videos of herself, lying underneath stones, hardly visible, in what looks like a quarry, or submerged in a Mexican creek.

Image, Ana Mendieta Untitled (Silueta Series), c. 1980 Lifetime color photograph 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)

Image, Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series), c. 1980 Lifetime color photograph 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)

She drew on traditions of the spirituality of the land… Her photos and videos, which need patience to watch, are slow, quiet examinations of the relationship of woman and nature. She alters nature without doing so in an obvious, permanent or destructive way…This was a haunting show which unfortunately was only on for a few weeks. Watch out for future exhibitions though, as suddenly her work has become more popular. A particularly interesting link for me is when I think about the Museum’s mission to  ‘provoke debate and reflection about the past, present and future of the earth and its inhabitants.’ This certainly did!

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