In fall 2011, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, one of the most significant artists to emerge from the Cuban post-revolutionary era, engaged Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students in a campus art project to plant 4,400 grape hyacinth bulbs, mapping out Campos-Pons’ hometown on Peabody’s campus.

The creative campus art project leaves a lasting legacy that blooms each Spring.

A visiting artist October 9-18, 2011, Campos-Pons and her husband, Neil Leonard, who is a composer and performing artist, were the focus of several events and exhibitions thanks to a collaboration involving several groups: the Center for Latin American Studies; the Department of Art; the Department of History of Art; the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery; the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies; the Atlantic World Seminar; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy; and the College of Arts and Science.

Born in the Cuban province of Matanzas, Campos-Pons was educated in Cuba at the National School of Art and Instituto Superior de Arte and attended graduate school at the Massachusetts College of Art. In addition, she was a Bunting Fellow for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. She moved to North America in 1991 and now lives in Brookline, Mass., with her husband and son.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12. Campos-Pons led a faculty discussion about race in her native country in the panel discussion “Exile, Memory and Identity: A Conversation on Race in Cuba” at 5:30 p.m. in Cohen Memorial Hall, Room 203. The other panelists were Vivien Fryd, professor of art history and American studies; Jane Landers, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History and acting director of the Center for Latin American Studies; and William Luis, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Spanish. Immediately following the discussion, there was an opening reception for “María Magdalena Campos-Pons: MAMA/RECIPROCAL ENERGY” at the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery.

Magda’s visit also involved an exhibition and events at the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville


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April 14, 2012