Cuban-born artist Magdalena Campos-Pons (born 1959) uses photography to investigate history and memory, as well as their roles in the formation of identity. Campos-Pons employs a variety of photographic types, including portraiture, landscape, and documentary photography. This work, like Campos-Pons’s larger body of work, deals with themes of survival ranging from the voyage of enslaved people from Africa to the Americas in the 18th century to their life in Cuba on the sugar plantations. Campos-Pons’s own family history is intertwined with the sugar industry in her hometown of La Vega.

In Untitled (Breast and Bottle Feeding) (1994), Campos-Pons centralizes the idea of race and gender as expressed in symbols of matriarchy and maternity. As she says, “the salient tie to familiar and cultural history vastly expands for me the range of photographic possibilities.” Here, she reimagines the female nude as a mother, drawing attention to the reproductive labor done by women of color

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cuban, born 1959
Untitled (Breast and Bottle Feeding) from the series When I Am Not Here / Estoy Alla, 1994
Polaroid photograph
20 x 24 in
Purchased through the Contemporary Art Fund; 2009.12
© Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons