Amalia Mesa-Bains

The Work of Amalia Mesa-Bains

An artist, activist, educator, and scholar, Mesa-Bains creates large installation works comprising dozens, at times hundreds, of objects: photographs of friends and family, strings of beads, scientific instruments, perfume bottles, her personal medical equipment, holy cards, her wedding veil, Mexican flags, her father’s glasses and mother’s necklace, statuettes, fabric and clothing, sugar skulls, crucifixes, calendars, stamps, candles, shards of glass, dirt, scattered woodchips, plants. At the beginning of her career, she took inspiration from home altars and Day of the Dead ofrendas, adapting them for her own artistic aims. Her installations are sacred spaces imbued with memory: of the dead, of history and all its atrocities, of innocence lost, of the mystical and mythological.

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Rena Bransten Gallery

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