A Conversation with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons with her SMFA students and teaching assistant Laura Fischman

Cuban-American artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons provided a fascinating glimpse of her creative process in her lecture on Wednesday, November 18, in the President’s Dining Room. Campos-Pons related stories of her childhood growing up in Cuba as a rich and inspiring resource for the development of the concepts she explores in her artwork.

Campos-Pons’s art reflects her complex personal history as the great-granddaughter of a Nigerian slave, as an Afro Cuban, and as an immigrant to the United States. Drawing upon memories and experiences, she employs masterful design and a readiness for self-exploration to engage with issues ranging from identity and displacement, to history and politics, to the study of nature’s mysteries, in her powerful and absorbing work.

Campos-Pons often uses simple yet profound ritual and gesture in combination with graphic elements to convey her deep interior involvement with complex subjects that are at the core of human experience. Her unguarded openness invites the viewer into their own explorations, and to perhaps share in her willingness to challenge comfortable assumptions about identity, and what we desire.

Her artwork will be on display in the Hess Gallery through January 27, 2010.