Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery
23 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons’ work is autobiographical. “It encompasses a larger story. It reveals a history of survival- of a culture, a religion, and a people- from the oceanic voyage from Africa during the slave trade in the 18th century, to its aftermath in Cuba on the sugar plantations, to the present day in the United States. It is a felt history- not one of the rhetorical facts and figures told through non-spoken, fragmented narratives.” Campos-Pons’ work, although an expression of absence and loss, is a celebratory gesture toward a unique and resilient culture.
Her work is an investigation of history and memory, and their roles in the formation of identity. Born in Matanzas province in Cuba in 1959, Campos-Pons bears a familial history that is intermingled with the sugar industry’s presence in her hometown of La Vega. Her roots can be traced from America, to a Cuban homeland, to the enslaved who were traded by Spanish colonists and finally back to what is today Nigeria.
Her works have been exhibited in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, France, Italy, and Cuba. She was represented in the Johannesburg Biennial and has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Campos-Pons’ powerful attachment to her cultural African heritage is one that she has never experienced directly but its presence in the rites and myths of her childhood make her a Cuban transplanted in the United States, an exile twice over.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons’ free artist lecture will be on Thursday, May 18 at 6:30pm at Larcom Theatre in Beverly, MA