Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Hobbs

Second Advisor

Dr. Babatunde Lawal


The Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) created the Silueta Series during the 1970s and ‘80s. It consists of earth-body works in situ featuring the silhouette of the artist's body fashioned from mud, plants, rocks, gunpowder and other materials. Underlying the creation of the Silueta Series is Mendieta's belief that the elements are sentient and powerful beings. This perception is particularly strong in the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria, a creolized form of the Òrìsà tradition of the Yoruba of West Africa introduced to the Americas during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. While scholars have noted Mendieta's incorporation of Santeria in her art, a thorough analysis of the iconographical references to the deities have yet to be explored. This thesis aims to provide such an analysis of Mendieta's works; thus enriching the current discourse on the Silueta Series.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008