María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

PATRIA ES UNA TRAMPA! (Mother country is a trap!) is carved across María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s painted chest in the video Not Just Another Day, 1998, as she pulls a white organza ribbon inscribed with the words identity and incident, in English, from her mouth. As this survey of twenty-one works from the past two decades shows, her declaration is only partially true. The artist, who is Cuban by birth and African by heritage, and who currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, is indeed preoccupied in her work with the multiple layers of her national, racial, and gender identities. At times, as in this video, the relationships among them appear fraught. But more often, the artist offers pensive meditations on the ways in which the various sources of her identity do not so much trap as haunt, like spirits from other times and places that appear in even the most mundane aspects of life.

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